Great British Bake Off contestant Dawn Hollyoak dies aged 61

Great British Bake Off stars have paid tribute to the “joyous” and “talented” former contestant Dawn Hollyoak after her death at the age of 61.

The baker competed on the Channel 4 show in 2022, becoming the sixth contestant to leave the tent after the group was given the task of making Halloween-themed treats.

The news was announced on her Instagram with a message saying: “It’s with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our star baker Dawn. Not only a wonderfully talented baker but first and foremost an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend.

“Dawn passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. We will miss her forever, but promise to continue her baking legacy!”

Alongside the announcement was a photo of Hollyoak smiling in a kitchen while holding a cup of tea.

Paul Hollywood, one of the show’s judges, was among those to share his condolences, writing: “I’m so sorry to hear that, send my love to the family, a lovely lady x.”

Dawn Hollyoak was ‘a wonderfully talented baker but first and foremost an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend’, said her family. Photograph: Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

Carole Edwards, who competed on the same season as Hollyoak, said she would miss her friend terribly. “A beautiful and talented lady inside and out, fly high my friend, life just won’t be the same without you. Sending all my love to the family. Xx”

Other amateur bakers who competed in the same Bake Off season also paid tribute, including Maxy Maligisa, who said: “Dawn will be missed so much. Our memories together are memories that I will cherish forever xx”, while Janusz Domagala wrote: “All my love is with you.”

Giuseppe Dell’Anno, who won the competition in 2021, described the news as devastating as he recalled being “blown away by her joyous personality and her infectious smile” when he met her. “She will be sorely missed, but will live in the heart of those who loved her for ever!” he added.

Hollyoak described herself as an “artist in and out of the kitchen”, according to the Great British Bake Off website.

“Dawn loves the challenge of an illusion cake (the more impossible-sounding, the better), favouring wacky and intricate designs that allow her to express her creative talent,” reads her profile on the site. “She prides herself on her steady hand and attention to detail, especially when it comes to the intricacy required for lace patterns on biscuits.”

After her departure from the show, she said: “I really don’t want to shed tears over it because it’s been the most amazing experience.”

The Guardian