July, 2013

12 July
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Mandip Gill talks about the loss of her much-loved cousin

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Mandip Gill (Phoebe McQueen)

I’m not usually one to start on a negative note, but this month my family and I lost Alicia, our extremely brave and selfless cousin, to cancer. After an 18-month battle, our very own angel of the north was taken from us.

In the run-up to our loss, my family and I climbed Snowdon, in Wales, in a bid to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust; a trust that provided Alicia and her family with much needed equipment during her hospital stay. The climb was both physically and emotionally hard as none of us took to exercise beforehand. However, we eventually managed it and I would like to thank all those that helped us raise five thousand pounds.

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Later this month, along with some of my fellow Hollyoaks castmates, my family and I will be taking part in the Color Run; a five kilometre run where coloured powder covers the participants. It’s so exciting that the American running phenomenon is coming to the UK for the very first time. To help publicise this event, the Hollyoaks cast took part in the coolest photo shoot. We all wore white, and I posed for pictures while having coloured powder thrown at me and pretending like it didn’t blur my vision one bit.

This year, Color Run has teamed up with Stand Up To Cancer and will see thousands including myself, partake in a 5km run, or… uhem… walk in my case. Similarly to the photo shoot (practise test for my lack of vision) we will start the race in white clothes only to be splashed with coloured powder at every kilometre. Sounds like fun right? The Color Run celebrates happiness, healthiness and individuality which will happen on 21 July in Manchester. Teaming up with Stand Up To Cancer means my family and I can all enjoy the day, celebrate our cousins life (as she would want) and help raise money for charities that are close to our hearts. If you would like to donate money to help other young suffers in times of need, please take a look at Alicia’s Memorial Fund at www.aliciaboparai.co.uk

Moving on to something a little lighter… the sticky love triangle in Hollyoaks between Phoebe, George and Vincent. What is going on? Not long after making a celibacy pact, Phoebe and George have betrayed one another by falling for the same guy. Umm… Hello but there are enough hunky men in Hollyoaks to have your own! Unbeknown to Phoebe, Vincent is actually gay and left Nigeria for a life where his sexuality is not frowned upon. In recent months, Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed a bill to criminalise same sex marriages. If the bill is to be passed, it carries penalties of up to 14 years in prison. I’m extremely grateful for this current storyline; not only is it tackling issues surrounding relationships and friendships, but it is an issue that’s so relevant to today’s society. This week we have filmed scenes with tears, laughter and the odd bit of bitching. I hope the audience enjoy watching the storyline pan out just as much as we enjoyed exploring this topic ourselves. I am also excited to hear what the audience thought of Vincent’s sexuality revelation.

Talking about sticky, it looks like summer is finally here but ‘for how long?’ I hear you say. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the sun; I get hot and bothered, it makes me eat heaps of ice-cream and not to mention those terribly unflattering tan lines. I’m more of a factor-50-and-full-sleeves kind of girl. That said, I have enjoyed a spot of shade in a beer garden with my work pals this week and that’s where I am about to go now. Factor 50, full sleeves and shades at the ready. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy the rest of the sun. Love from me to you.
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In loving memory of Alicia Boparai. As the saying goes, “If love alone could save you, you never would have died.”
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