Shropshire's Nicky looking to serve up sweet treats as Great British Bake Off launches
A Shropshire woman will be looking to cook up a storm as she takes part in the Great British Bake Off 2023.
Nicky, from the Market Drayton area, will be competing alongside 11 other bakers and trying to impress the judges for the Series 14 bake off crown - where viewers will see This Morning’s Alison Hammond join comedian Noel Fielding to co-host the show.
The 52-year-old baker is a retired cabin crew member and works as a volunteer with a pet therapy charity alongside her dog Bracken.
She described her baking as "like a pair of comfy old slippers; little traditional bakes that evoke fond memories".
When asked about her appearance on Bake Off, which launches on Tuesday night, Nicky said: "I never let myself believe that it might actually happen, in case my amazing dream was well and truly shattered.
"Then when the phone rang and I was told the news I couldn’t believe that dreams really can come true and can become the most amazing reality.
"It was a massive pinch me moment that still doesn’t seem real.
"Seeing the big white tent for the first time felt like going to see a show on Broadway. It was something I had dreamt about for a very long time but thought that it would never become a reality.
"I was like a kid in a sweet shop as I walked towards my work station. I couldn’t wait to open every drawer and door to explore what was inside."
When she was a little girl, Nicky said, she used to roll out pastries and decorate cakes at her Grandma's kitchen table.
She said that baking was just as much fun now as it was back then – and her favourite bakes are still pastries, but she also loves making breads, as well as birthday cakes for her niece and grandchildren.
Nicky's baking strengths are macrons, cakes and anything involving chocolate, but she said her weaknesses were that she is messy, has issues with timing and spends a lot of time chatting.
"From the minute I met Alison and Noel I felt like I had known them for years. They both made me chuckle so much and our chats, both on and off camera, were always a real hoot," Nicky added.
"I think I spent too long chatting away to them and forgot that I was in the tent to bake."
Bake off 2017 contestant Liam Charles was an inspiration to Nicky, as well as Rahul, Manon, Kim Joy and Briony from Series 9.
"There was so much talent and personalities in the tent that year, I had a real soft spot for Rahul. He was so magical and kind to watch and wow could he bake, absolutely incredible," she added.
The new series of The Great British Bake Off starts tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.