SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Poet Pam Ayres' big scare armed gang raid

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Poet Pam Ayres' big scare armed gang raid

January 28, 2021

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Poet Pam Ayres’ big scare after raid by armed gang

With her distinctive Berkshire accent, rosy cheeks and humorous verse, Pam Ayres conjures up a cheerful image for her many fans.

In real life, however, the poet has revealed that she’s haunted by a terrifying incident that she witnessed outside her home.

Asked what keeps her awake at night, Ayres, who was dubbed the People’s Poet, discloses: ‘About 18 months ago, my neighbour’s burglar alarm went off one afternoon. I went out to have a look — and was confronted by three men in balaclavas, armed with axes and hammers, and carrying pillowcases stuffed with valuables.’

Ayres, who has performed her one-woman stage show for the Queen, adds: ‘They didn’t say anything, but it still gives me nightmares. As they drove off, I hoped and prayed they would never come back.’

With her distinctive Berkshire accent, rosy cheeks and humorous verse, Pam Ayres conjures up a cheerful image for her many fans

It’s clearly not a subject fit for her comic verse. Ayres, 73, who is married to theatre producer Dudley Russell, and has two sons, James and William, lives in the Cotswolds having downsized after almost 30 years from her eight-bedroom Gloucestershire mansion, Norcote House, set in 20 acres.

She described moving as a ‘massive trauma as I didn’t want to go.’

At Norcote, she kept sheep, pigs and chickens, and her small holding inspired her to write about her love of animals.

In real life, however, the poet has revealed that she’s haunted by a terrifying incident that she witnessed outside her home

The poet, who shot to fame after appearing on Opportunity Knocks in 1975, tells Saga she would have second thoughts about going on a TV talent show today.

‘It makes me uncomfortable to see people being judged so harshly — but if you want to be a performer, you need to show what you can do. And, let’s face it, there aren’t many platforms for poets out there.

‘I’m not sure I would want all the ‘celebrity’ nonsense, though. I had a couple of years of that when I won Opportunity Knocks when I was 28, but I was glad when life went back to normal.’

Asked what keeps her awake at night, Ayres, who was dubbed the People’s Poet, discloses: ‘About 18 months ago, my neighbour’s burglar alarm went off one afternoon.’ Stock picture

Heartbroken Sienna Miller need look no further than her big sister for ideas on how to lift her spirits.

Fashion designer Savannah, who took the 39-year-old actress under her wing in the Cotswolds following her split from her fiance, literary editor Lucas Zwirner, last year, claims exercise and cocktails are ideal mood boosters. ‘I took up running for my New Year’s resolution. This stuff is a game-changer,’ says Savannah, 42. ‘The endorphins are a vital source of sanity.

‘Smiling also releases endorphins and makes us feel better so, even if you don’t feel like it, smile. Or better still, run and smile at the same time.

‘Failing that, there’s always negronis.’

Heartbroken Sienna Miller need look no further than her big sister for ideas on how to lift her spirits

Film producer Sadie Frost, who has three children with Hollywood star Jude Law and one with Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, spoke of suffering from empty-nest syndrome last year. 

Now she is grieving another loss following the death of her beloved bichon frise, Rosie. ‘

Our lovely white cloud had to be put to sleep. She had fought too many little battles recently,’ says Sadie, 55. 

‘She had a long and wonderful life and was a huge part of our family, but she will be happy now as she joins her best mate, Ringo, in doggie heaven.’

Gordon Ramsay may be hot tempered in the kitchen, but his former protegee, Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett, claims he is a softie at heart.

‘He shouted at me a few times, it has to be said, but Gordon did like me and we still talk a lot and he’s a great mate,’ says Angela, 52, who joined Ramsay’s first restaurant, Aubergine, in 1994.

‘Everyone sees the TV side of him — the shouty side — but there are lots of things you don’t see about Gordon. 

One thing he taught me was to really know your staff — know when they’re going on holiday, know when their mum’s not well, know if they’ve got a boyfriend, girlfriend, and what their dog’s name is. And then they’ll really feel a sense of loyalty to you.’

She has not, however, developed his fiery demeanour. 

‘I don’t scream and shout. I can be sarcastic, but I always have smiles in my eyes.’

Former Bond girl Rosamund Pike admits she has become more outspoken since playing the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie. 

‘I’ve got bolder through my encounter with Marie Curie, and it’s given me the courage to call people out,’ she says. 

‘If I see bulls***, I call it now, rather than just say it in private.’

Actress Bessie Carter, daughter of thespians Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter, has revealed the lengths she had to go to keep her period costume spotless while filming the hit Netflix drama

Eating on the set of Bridgerton was no piece of cake. Actress Bessie Carter, daughter of thespians Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter, has revealed the lengths she had to go to keep her period costume spotless while filming the hit Netflix drama.

The 27-year-old, who plays husband-seeking aristocrat Prudence Featherington in the show, shared a picture of herself tucking into mashed potato and green beans.

To keep her outfit spotless, she had to wear a plastic wrap on top and netting over her carefully styled hair.

Sir Rod Stewart’s ex-wife, model Rachel Hunter, stopped talking for 19 days last year as part of a spiritual retreat in India

Sir Rod Stewart’s ex-wife, model Rachel Hunter, stopped talking for 19 days last year as part of a spiritual retreat in India.

Now she has discovered just how powerful words can be after bursting into tears at an airport in her native New Zealand last week.

‘I was asked a question at the border that meant the world to me: how is your mental health?’ says the mother-of-two, 51, who was travelling back to Auckland from the U.S.

‘Tears welled up in my eyes, tears kept coming. This is so important as we all know. Please take care of yourself and be there for others.

‘I am forever grateful to all the Border Frontline incredible humans and New Zealanders for doing what you all did.’  

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