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16/02/2020 11:07 AM AEDT

Cheeky, Hilarious And Always Relatable: How I Will Remember The Beautiful Caroline Flack

"Caroline had such a presence, lighting up a room the minute she walked into it."

When I think of Caroline Flack, I immediately think of her naughty laugh, her infectious personality and that iconic Love Island strut.

So when news broke of her death at the age of just 40 on Saturday, I was absolutely blindsided.

As a presenter and TV personality, Caroline has established herself as one of the best at her craft.

From working as a kids TV presenter on TMI, to taking the reins of the Xtra Factor with Olly Murs, to being at the heart of Love Island, she was a true telly great. Cheeky, hilarious and always relatable - her personality shone through in everything that she did.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Caroline on a number of occasions and she was everything you could wish for. 

Ash Percival/HuffPost UK
Caroline Flack and Ash Percival

Honest, charming and cheeky, Caroline had such a presence, lighting up a room the minute she walked into it. Given the chance, I could have imagined us setting the world to rights over a few glasses of wine and howling at our various life troubles.

Her smile was infectious and that laugh was incomparable, and I feel honoured that I was able to spend time with someone I admired and respected professionally so much.

We shared a love for Love Island and the passion she had for her job was undeniable. The moments that we gossiped about the Islanders and set out our theories are moments I will treasure. As are the times I teased her over her iconic slo-mo walk into the villa and got to hear that hearty laugh in response.

For me, that will define Caroline’s memory.

Ash Percival/HuffPost UK

Despite the tumultuous times she went through in her life, I hope that is how everyone else will also remember her too.

Caroline’s death will be felt in the TV and media industries for years to come, and I pray that we all take a long hard look at how we treat people in the public eye and examine the effects words in the press and on social media can have.

For now, I hope Caroline has found peace, and I extend my thoughts and prayers to her family and friends now, as they navigate the difficult weeks and months to come.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.
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