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Reality star Gemma Collins hits the New Forest for TV show

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Gemma Collins was "a complete natural" at kayaking (picture: Louise Flanagan)
Gemma Collins was "a complete natural" at kayaking (picture: Louise Flanagan)

REALITY TV star Gemma Collins paid a surprise visit to Lymington at the weekend, enjoying a kayak trip on the river which was filmed for her show Diva in Lockdown.

Gemma (39) proved to be a “complete natural” at the sport after trying it out for the first time.

Bev Levers owns Yachtmail Chandlery at Town Quay which provided Gemma with equipment and instruction.

She said: “She was really excited about doing it and listened really carefully to everything we told her before she went out on the river.

“Out on the water she proved to be a complete natural. She took to it so well. She loved absolutely every minute of it.”

Chandlery assistant Grace Wilks helped Gemma get out onto the water.

Gemma – who showed off her recent three-stone weight loss in a wetsuit – was accompanied by brother Russell (42), nephew Hayden (12) and a large TV crew.

She has been in the New Forest filming for the ITV show which sees her finding ways to beat the boredom of the pandemic lockdown.

Puffin Cruises, which is based on the quay, supplied the support boat for the TV crew, which delighted owner Kylie Figueroa Lopez Holloway who is a big fan of Gemma.

Kylie said: “I’ve met her once before because for my hen do three years ago, I went on a The Only Way Is Essex tour to Essex, so to meet her again was just fantastic.

Gemma Collins at Yachtmail Chandlery in Lymington
Gemma Collins at Yachtmail Chandlery in Lymington

“She was just wonderful. She’d been staying in a caravan on a local camp site and had been in a horse and cart in Burley before coming to Lymington. She said she had been having a great time.”

Gemma has been branded a diva in the past for reportedly demanding behaviour, but Kylie said she was “an absolute delight” during her visit.

She said: “I was in the chandlery with her after she had finished and was getting changed. By then a large crowd of fans had gathered outside but someone from ITV told Gemma that when she left, she had to get straight into the car and ignore them.

“She said ‘I’m not doing that they’ve been waiting 25 minutes for me’.

“Then she went outside and spent ages posing for selfies with everyone. She didn’t act like a diva at all.”

Local photographer Louise Flanagan captured Gemma’s first kayaking outing. She said she found the TV star “really friendly”, adding: “She was waving at all her fans and just seemed really nice.

“After she finished, she got out of the kayak and said loudly, ‘I need a brandy!’”

Gemma’s New Forest visit is due to be shown in November when the second series of Diva in Lockdown returns.

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