A friend and former colleague of Kate Garraway’s husband, Derek Draper, has revealed a secret nickname he has for his pal.
Politicial journalist Paul Routledge recounted his times working with Derek before his horrific battle with Covid.
Paul wrote in The Mirror earlier this year musing about what he would say to Derek if he could sit by his bedside.
After recalling how things really were better back in 1997, when Labour won the general election, he shared that Derek – who was a political lobbyist – was known by the affectionate term, “Dolly.”
Paul says that this nickname stuck with both friends and enemies of Derek at the “bars of Westminster”.
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He describes Derek as being: “Good fun, easily recognised: hair swept back, an impish grin, the clever working-class boy from Chorley, Lancs, with a fondness for champers, who likes being just that bit more outrageous than he should be.
“He loved to boast about how well-connected he was, which was substantially true because his easy manner enabled him to talk to politicos of all stripes.”
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Derek was struck with Covid-19 back in March 2020 at the very beginning of the pandemic.
Of course there were no vaccines at the time and Derek ended up spending over a year in hospital before finally being allowed home in April 2021.
Kate won a National Television Award for the touching documentary Finding Derek which she filmed during his illness.
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Writing in his Daily Mail column, Piers reveals: “I was stunned. ‘Derek!’ I cried. ‘It’s so good to talk to you!’
“There was a slight pause and then I heard a familiar male voice say very clearly and strongly: ‘Hello!’
“‘HELLO!’ I stammered back. ‘It’s great to hear your voice again. Keep battling, Derek – we’re all so proud of you!'”
Piers said it was a “strange, thrilling experience”, adding: “There have been many times when I feared I’d never hear Derek speak again.”
Derek’s carer even “burst into tears”, Kate admitted to Piers, as it had been “so unusual to hear him interact like that”.
Piers has described his Life Stories chat with Kate, 54 – his last before he actually passes the hosting baton to her – as the “most powerful” episode he has ever done.
He added: “It’s highly emotional, very funny, incredibly inspiring and a wonderful testament to the power of life and love.”
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