Now, I’m the first to admit I have preconceived ideas about what celebrities are like before I actually meet them.
So when my good friends Claire and Irene Shanks invited me up to York to compare a charity event for the HCPT Pilgrimage Trust I was sceptical as Michelle McManus was due to perform and make a speech.
Like you I knew she won Pop Idol and that she had appeared on nutritionist Gillian McKeith’s You Are What You Eat to lose 10 stone in weight (she originally weighted 23 stone when she won the show). I voted for her to win Pop Idol and her voice was amazing. But I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around. Would she be a bit of a diva after winning the show in 2004? Totally guarded? Or maybe she had believed all the hype and strayed into diva-ville!
Thankfully, I’m pleased to report Michelle’s one of the most genuine, kind and real people I’ve ever met on the celebrity circuit. She’s been through it all and come out on the other side. Yes, she blames her size for ruining her music career and leading to her being dumped from the label. But she’s a fighter of the highest calibre and that can only be commended. She’s recently set up McManii Records and she’s going to release her new album through her own label online at her official site.
The HCPT Summer Ball, held at York’s Hilton Hotel, was all about raising money to send disabled children out to Pilgrimage in Lourdes. It costs £680 per child to get them out there and the night raised over £3,300 for the charity. Claire, who masterminds a trip for her branch of HCPT every year, tells me: “The HCPT is all about getting children with all sorts of disabilities out to Lourdes for pilgrimage. The smile on their faces is enough to realise that the annual trip is an amazing cause.”
Michelle has actually travelled out to Lourdes as a helper with her branch of the HCPT in Glasgow and on the night made a powerful speech to the 200 strong dinner guests about her personal experiences with the charity.
Michelle, Claire and Irene are an inspiration to us all.
If you are interested in donating to this year’s Lourdes trip HCPT then email me and I can put you in touch. And for more information on the HCPT as a whole click here.