Great British Bake Off contestant Dawn Hollyoak dies

Great British Bake Off contestant Dawn Hollyoak has died at the age of 61. 

A post on her Instagram account announced her death with a "heavy heart", describing her as "not only a wonderfully talented baker but first and foremost an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend".

Mrs Hollyoak competed in the Channel 4 baking show in 2022 and was the sixth contestant to leave the tent.

The tribute on her social media page said she had "passed away peacefully surrounded by her family" but did not give any details on her cause of death.

"We will miss her forever, but promise to continue her baking legacy!" it said.

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Judge Paul Hollywood was among the Bake Off stars who paid tribute to the grandmother, writing: "I'm so sorry to hear that, send my love to the family. A lovely lady x."

Carole Edwards, who competed with Mrs Hollyoak on season 13 of the show, said: "I will miss my friend terribly, a beautiful and talented lady inside and out, fly high my friend, life just won't be the same without you. Sending all my love to the family."

Dr Rahul Mandal, who won the show in 2018, wrote: "So sorry to hear that. My deepest condolences to Dawn's family."

Mrs Hollyoak's last post on her Instagram page was in August 2023, when she shared a photo of a "lion cake" she made to celebrate England's Lionesses, writing: "I've been a bit poorly since my lovely holiday but couldn't resist posting a cake from my archive."

A profile on the show's website described Mrs Hollyoak as a "mother to three, step-mother to two, and gran/step-gran to four".

"Dawn loves the challenge of an illusion cake (the more impossible-sounding, the better), favouring whacky and intricate designs that allow her to express her creative talent," it said.

"She prides herself on her steady hand and attention to detail, especially when it comes to the intricacy required for lace patterns on biscuits. Her favourite flavours are lemon, salted caramel and anything nutty."