Bedfordshire Great British Bake Off star dies aged 61 as tributes paid to 'a lovely lady'

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A beloved Bedfordshire contestant from the Great British Bake Off has died at the age of 61, it has been confirmed.

Dawn Hollyoak, who took part in the 2022 series of the baking competition, has passed away - with her family announcing the tragic news via her Instagram account.

The IT manager from Stotfold made it to week six of the competition, and received high praise from the judges on multiple occasions, as well as proving popular among both fans and her fellow bakers.

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The post on Instagram said: “It’s with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our star baker Dawn. Not only a wonderfully talented baker but first and foremost an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend. Dawn passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. We will miss her forever, but promise to continue her baking legacy.”

Dawn Hollyoak. Image: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4.Dawn Hollyoak. Image: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4.
Dawn Hollyoak. Image: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4.

Since the news broke on July 5, tributes have been flooding in from those who knew her. Chief among those was Carole Edwards, a supermarket cashier from Dorset who competed in the same series as Dawn. She 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.”

Giuseppe Dell'Anno, who won the Great British Bake Off in 2021, added: “This is devastating news. I only met Dawn once, but I was blown away by her joyous personality and her infectious smile.

“She will be sorely missed, but will live in the hearts of those who loved her forever.”

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Judge Paul Hollywood also offered his condolences. He said: “I’m so sorry to hear that, send my love to the family. A lovely lady.”

Other amateur bakers who competed on her season also paid tribute, including Maxy Maligisa, who said: “Dawn will be missed so much. Our memories together are memories that I will cherish forever,” while Janusz Domagala wrote: “All my love is with you.”

When Dawn was introduced to Bake Off viewers, she was described as a mother of three, step-mother of two, and grandmother/step-grandmother of four.

She was said to enjoy decorating cakes with quirky and intricate designs and loved “the challenge of an illusion cake”. Her favourite flavours were lemon, salted caramel and nuts.

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