Great British Bake Off stars pay tribute after death of former contestant

Meet the bakers! L-R: (back) James, Abdul, Janusz, Carole, Kevin, William, Dawn (front) Maisam, Rebs, Sandro, Maxy, Syabira
-Credit: (Image: Channel 4)

Tributes have been pouring in for a "joyous" and "talented" Great British Bake Off contestant who has died. Dawn Hollyoak graced our screens on the Channel 4 hit show in 2022 but left the competition as the sixth baker after a Halloween-themed challenge.

Her family shared the heart-breaking news on her Instagram, posting: "It's with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our star baker Dawn."

The post continued to honour her, saying: "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!"

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A touching photo accompanied the announcement, showing Ms Hollyoak beaming in the kitchen with a cup in hand. Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood shared his own tribute, commenting: "I'm so sorry to hear that, send my love to the family, a lovely lady x".

Fellow contestant Carole Edwards, from Dawn's series, also shared her grief: "A beautiful and talented lady inside and out, fly high my friend, life just won't be the same without you."

Maxy Maligisa and Janusz Domagala, also from her season, joined in the tributes. Maxy reminisced: "Dawn will be missed so much. Our memories together are memories that I will cherish forever xx," while Janusz sent his love to Dawn's loved ones.

Giuseppe Dell'Anno, the 2021 winner, expressed his sorrow over the news, describing it as "devastating". He said he fondly remembered her for her "joyous personality and infectious smile" when they met.

"She will be sorely missed, but will live in the heart of those who loved her forever! " he added.

Dawn Hollyoak, a mother of three, competed on the show at the age of 60. According to the GBBO website, she considered herself an "artist in and out of the kitchen".

"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," her profile on the site reads.

"She prides herself on her steady hand and attention to detail, especially when it comes to the intricacy required for lace patterns on biscuits."

After leaving the show, she reflected: "I really don't want to share tears over it because it's been the most amazing experience."

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