Arlene Phillips’ daughter Abi Ion has spoken out about initially feeling concerned for her mother after signing up for I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
At 78-years-old, Arlene is the eldest campmate ever to appear on the ITV show which caused Abi to feel “protective” over her at first.
"Initially I was worried. I am very protective of her but as the weeks went by and I saw how she began to prep herself, exercising, eating smaller portions, I became very proud of her and excited for her,” the 31-year-old told The Mirror.
"She’s been brilliant. Even in The Clink I thought the way she handled it was amazing. She surprised me by the way she just got on with everything.
“I know she had a little stumble when wanting to leave but I was happy she worked through it and now she’s in the main camp she is absolutely shining.
"I really don’t have the words to describe how proud I am. Hopefully she will feel it when I squeeze her with all my love when she’s out."
Abi became the subject of discussion on Wednesday night’s show as Arlene discussed how she felt about becoming mother to her at the older age of 47.
The former Strictly judge said she “dreaded” the school run thinking that parents would mistake her for being Abi’s grandmother and thought she was going through menopause before finding out she was pregnant.
"It wasn’t hard to watch as I am already aware of the way she used to feel. I believe that’s why we’re so close as we have an honest and open relationship,” Abi said of hearing her mum’s struggles.
"It was usually my dad picking me up from school so it was always a huge treat when my mum came to pick me up and I was never aware of any difference between her and the other mothers.
"She absolutely was hands on and supportive in every way. From bath time entertainment (she would make up songs and tap to them) to bedtime stories, poems and impressions, which we still do together today and burst into laughter.
“She still makes me laugh so much. She would stay with me until I fell asleep and be there packing my rice cakes with peanut butter in the morning. She was and still is the best mummy ever."
On seeing her mum again after I’m A Celeb, Abi knows she will be emotional after watching her and being so proud of what she’s accomplished as contestant.
"I think tears will come before words. I know she was concerned about embarrassing me but she hasn’t. I want her to know that every concern I had has evaporated and I couldn’t be happier to see her,” she continued.
"She will have learned an enormous amount about herself and overcome her fears and continue to be even more of an inspiration to her family and other older people."
Abi added that her mum would be “surprised” if she were to win the show as she didn’t enter for that reason, but it would certainly be a “huge boost” for her if it were to happen, saying:
"Being voted winner by the public would obviously be fantastic but she was more intrigued to see how she would cope with this new experience and she’s already a winner in my eyes so I’ll be greeting my champion either way."
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