Ann recalls memories of Gosport school days ahead of Hayling visit

TALK Ann Widdecombe. Picture: Poppy Berry
TALK Ann Widdecombe. Picture: Poppy Berry
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FORMER Tory minister and Strictly Come Dancing star Ann Widdecombe says she can’t wait to come to Hayling Island.

She is visiting the community centre in Station Road to talk about her autobiography Strictly Ann which was released yesterday.

In it she pulls no punches when it comes to David Cameron and old adversaries Michael Howard and Michael Portillo.

But she says there is more to her – and the book – than political squabbles. And she revealed she went to school in this area.

‘The reaction so far has been extremely good,’ said Ms Widdecombe.

‘People are interested in all different parts of it.

‘A lot of people are saying “oh, I didn’t know that about you.”

‘My early life was in the colonial age. It’s very interesting. There is something for everyone in it.’

The 65-year-old’s father worked for the Admiralty and she spent several years in Gosport as a child.

She said: ‘I lived at Ordnance House for two or three years. I was very small but I can remember it. I remember the first school, Bridgemary Primary, that I went to.’

Miss Widdecombe was the MP for Maidstone and the Weald from 1987 to 2010 and, upon her retirement, agreed to appear in Strictly Come Dancing after five years of them asking.

She said: ‘It was total freedom from responsibility.

‘Until that time everything I had been doing in my whole political life had an effect on other people – case work and policies I embraced as a minister.

‘With Strictly, other than Anton’s (du Beke) shins, there was nothing I could affect.’

The publicity blitz for the new book is exhaustive.

Her appearance on Hayling on Monday follows a weekend jam-packed with television and radio appearances.

She said: ‘I’m looking forward to going to Hayling.

‘It’s always a delight to be there.’

There are still tickets available for Monday night’s event.

Tickets cost £20 and include the book.

Ms Widdecombe will be signing copies after the talk.

To buy tickets pop in to Hayling Island Bookshop, in Mengham Road, or call (023) 9246 6620.