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Stars perform at Flackstock festival in honour of Caroline Flack

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Family and friends have paid tribute to Caroline Flack at a festival in honour of the late TV presenter.

The festival celebrates her life with acts from the worlds of comedy, dance and music – who are raising funds for charities Mind, Samaritans, Choose Love and the Charlie Waller Trust.

Opening the event, Caroline’s sister Jody told the crowd that everyone performing was a friend of Caroline’s, saying it was an ideal day “full of dancing”.

She told the PA news agency: “This is who she was, this is what she liked, we are sort of encapsulating her today.

“We have tried to do that from the very beginning, our motto was ‘What would Caroline do’ the whole way through.

“Today is definitely a good day, there is a lot of bad ones there have been but today is a good one.”

Jody added that there would “hopefully” be another Flackstock in the future.

Fleur East, Pixie Lott and Joel Dommett were among those who performed in the grounds of Englefield House, near Pangbourne in Berkshire on Monday.

ITV Palooza 2021 – London
Pixie Lott (Ian West/PA)

Singer Lott dedicated Use Somebody by Kings of Leon to Flack, telling the crowd: “We are all here for the amazing Caroline Flack, I love you so much Cazza.”

The festival committee comprised Caroline’s mother Christine and sister Jody, as well as her close friends Dawn O’Porter, Natalie Pinkham, Anna Blue, Sarah Tyekiff and Leigh and Jill Francis.

Writer O’Porter told the PA news agency: “She was such a loved TV personality and I think her death affected so many people, I think it reminded people that what you see is not necessarily what you get.

“I think everyone assumed that Caroline was extremely okay when she wasn’t and I think a lot of people have taken a lot from that.

“She loved festivals more than anything in the world so we thought she should just get her one of her own.

Constellations – Vaudeville Theatre, London
Dawn O’Porter (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“The line-up is mostly her friends, Caroline knew so many people and especially doing The X Factor the amount of people she knew from all the jobs she did so we got together and just asked everyone and pretty much everyone we asked said yes.

“In terms of trying to book a line-up it really came to us. It is everything I expected but it is so emotional, I keep going up and down.”

TV presenter Pinkham told the PA news agency: “We didn’t get the chance to give her a proper send-off like so many people we didn’t get that opportunity, but I think there is a wider issue here which is mental health, I think Covid and lockdown proved that no-one is impervious to mental health struggles.

“We really wanted to make the conversation a positive one but push it forward. The #BeKind hashtag trended after she died but I didn’t want it to be a transient thing and I think it is so important to bolster it with something a couple years on.

“I dreamt about Caroline a lot after she died and this idea came about bringing friends and family together a bit like a memorial service but also that raises a lot of money and awareness for mental health causes.

Virgin BAFTA TV Awards 2022 – London
Natalie Pinkham (Ian West/PA)

“It has been a really positive amazing process. Everyone we asked said yes and that is testament to her personality and how positive Caroline was but also how much people want to counter all the negativity, its been great.”

Celebrity appearances also included Professor Green, TV presenter Dermot O’Leary, Kirsty Gallacher, Paddy McGuinness, Noel Fielding and June Sarpong.

Strictly Come Dancing stars Janette Manrara and her husband Aljaz Skorjanec also arrived at the event on Monday.

Love Island presenter Flack, who took her own life at the age of 40 in February 2020, was crowned the winner of Strictly in 2014 alongside her professional partner Pasha Kovalev.

Skorjanec told the PA news agency: “We were really lucky that we became such great friends after Strictly.

British Soap Awards 2022 – London
Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec (Suzan Moore/PA)

“I think it was meant to be, we started hanging out straight after the show, especially Janette and Caroline they were close so its a beautiful feeling to be here today in her memory and celebrate what she loved doing so much, music festivals and dancing she would have loved that.”

Manrara added: “Every time we hung out non-work wise the first thing she would do was pop on a song start singing, start dancing, she loved music, she loved singing and dancing so I think today is a perfect celebration of that part of her.

“I think every single person performing today knew how special she was and that’s probably why the yes’s came so quick. She loved being at festivals so what better way to celebrate her than having one.”

The married couple later performed a dance on stage to Footloose before teaching the crowd some salsa steps and coordinating a festival dance with Dommett and Keith Lemon joining the pair on stage.

TV presenter Rylan Clark also took to the stage, telling the crowd: “I tell you what if she was here she wouldn’t remember any of it, you know what she was like. This is unreal.

“When they asked me to come I said absolutely even though I have a 6pm flight to Scotland.”

Funds raised will be equally split between the charities Choose Love, Mind, Samaritans and the Charlie Waller Trust.

The festival had a mindfulness set up by the charity Mind featuring workshops all day guaranteed to “charge your soul and mind,” O’Porter told the crowd.

It was also announced that Sky were recording the festival for a documentary broadcasting in August.

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