I last met up with Alex Best for coffee a couple of summers ago in Portals.
She was going through her painful divorce and had popped over to Majorca to get away for a break.
Her high profile “I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here” appearance was fresh in everyone's minds and heads were constantly turning to point her out. “I still think that yours was the most memorable series. The one with Peter Andre, Jordan and Jennie Bond” I tell her. “Actually I'm still in touch with Lord Brockett. In fact I'm going to his wedding in the South of France this summer,” she replies.
Body language tells me that Alex has gathered her strength and is a far stronger woman than I met last time, so I risk the obvious question. “You knew for some time that George was going to die. How did you cope when it actually happened?” “Even now I still can't believe it” she says. “It was a terrible time. I was mourning two losses. Our divorce had just come through and I was grieving for our marriage. Then he died as well. But somehow you get through these things.” I tell her how I had watched the funeral on television and praised her on her dignity. I admire her courage even more after I ask whether she had any back-up on the day. “I went on my own” she answers. Although she adds that she still has many good friends in Ireland. I sense that she finally has closure on the huge chapter in her life that caused her so much heartache. She was only 22 when she met the legendry footballer on a Virgin flight. She married the Irish charmer within the year.
However, her love and endurance was tested over and over again as George broke his promises and allowed his alcoholism to take hold.
Nevertheless she faithfully maintained a bedside vigil during his liver transplant, and had almost believed that he was a changed man when his final betrayal devastated their marriage beyond repair. Make no mistake, under her pretty blonde model-like appearance their lies a heart of gold and a steely core.
However, Alex is repairing her life and moving on. I didn't realise that she had a history in catering, and am surprised as she tells me that she has opened a bar/restaurant in Wimbledon, South London called SW19. “We're still testing things out but it's doing really well. We've been really busy, especially during Wimbledon fortnight.
Last year we catered for Maria Sharapova's private party, and this year Wimbledon have asked us to cater for the player's party.” The food has to be good as tennis players are a discerning bunch. She smiles modestly.
I'm delighted to see her finding her own success, and it's especially gratifying to see her focus all her energy into herself for once.
THE senior fundraising manager for Great Ormond Street Hospital, Matt Forrest, was really excited about last night's charity event at Pirates. “We are priviliged to be associated with the Pirates Charty Premiere and grateful for this, their third year of support for the hospital,” he said.
“Last year's event was such an outstanding success both in terms of the wonderful experience for the children from the hospital and the 75'000 euros that was raised for GOSH. “The money has been used to equip a treatment room that bares the Pirates name in the new high-tech extension to what is Londons's oldest operating children's hospital.”