‘TV show win was in memory of cousin’

Winner Craig Wilby
Winner Craig Wilby

A Pocklington business owner was spurred on to win in a hit television show knowing he was to donate the £1,000 winnings to charity in memory of his cousin.

Craig Wilby, who owns Willow Waters Fishery, on Burnby Lane, scooped the £1,000 prize when he appeared on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me and has decided to donate it to St Leonard’s Hospice in memory of his cousin, Nicola Laverack.

Nicola Laverack

Nicola Laverack

Craig decided before he went on the show he would donate the £1,000 to the hospice after seeing the hard work staff put in to caring for Nicola, 38, in her final weeks.

“The whole thing behind it was to win the £100 to donate it to St Lenoard’s Hospice,” Craig said.

“My cousin Nicole had breast cancer and died on Boxing Day in 2011.

“The looked after her in the final two weeks of her life and I wanted to give something back to them.”

Spurred on by the prize money he wanted to donate, Craig’s big personality shines through throughout the programme, which was aired on Monday February 22.

From the start, Craig was confident he would be making a £1,000 donation to the hospice in York.

“It spurred me on, especially because it was so tiring on the Friday when I got up from the prepare shoot. The crew were there all day doing the preparation then handed it over to the evening team so it’s a full day. When I woke up that morning I thought I’ll give it one final push.

“I never had a doubt in my mind I just knew it from day one when I walked into Svenja’s house - it’s mine to take home the £1,000 and that showed in the scores.”

A proud Yorkshireman, Craig bigged up everything Yorkshire throughout the programme, including his duck eggs which he gathered from ducks at the fishery, and donated his winnings to a hospice just outside of York.

“I think I’ve done more for Yorkshire than the Tour de Yorkshire the amount of times I mentioned it.”

Sarah Atkinson, fundraising assistant at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “We’re thrilled that Craig won the prize and absolutely delighted that he has chosen to donate his winnings to the Hospice.

“Food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to funding a hospice, but our dedicated catering team work extremely hard to provide fresh food every day to patients, often with differing dietary needs, and that all comes at a cost, so his donation is very much appreciated.

“We’ll be saying thank you personally when Craig visits the Hospice in the next few days so we’ll be showing him around our kitchens, and we’ll also be featuring his winning recipe on our website.”

The 42-year-old’s three course meal dazzled fellow contestants Ollie, Nicola and Svenja, serving up a bruschetta starter with salsa and Aylesbury duck eggs, a proper fish pie main course and chocolate and honeycomb mousse. Scoring an impressive 26 out of 30, he came five points ahead of second place.

Filming took place over a week in September and the group have stayed in touch with Svenja joining Craig at his New Year’s Eve party.