SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: How Cara Delevigne’s mother found new life after drugs with charity mission
As the mother of the most famous young model in the world, she has been content to remain in the shadows.
But no longer: at the age of 61, Pandora Delevingne has begun a new chapter in her life which, though one of privilege, has been disfigured by addiction and depression.
She has, I can disclose, just launched the Bela Vista Project, a charity intent on improving the lives and education of those in a village in Mozambique, the African country where nearly half the population live in poverty.
Pandora, whose three daughters by her property tycoon husband Charles Delevingne are supermodel Cara, actress and model Poppy, and scientist and mother Chloe, tells me that the initiative resulted from a chance meeting with a missionary in South Africa.
At the age of 61, Pandora Delevingne has begun a new chapter in her life which, though one of privilege, has been disfigured by addiction and depression
‘He’d had a drug problem and did his rehab working in Bela Vista.
‘He said: “Would you like to come and see it?” I said: “I’d love to”. I’ve always been interested in, finally, giving back.’
Pandora believes her heroin addiction dating back to the 1980s but now conquered, stemmed from a form of survivor’s guilt caused by the death, aged just 25, of her older brother, who had cerebral palsy.
Only months before arriving in Mozambique, her depression had left her feeling that death was preferable to life. But her first encounters in Bela Vista changed everything.
Pandora, whose three daughters are supermodel Cara, actress and model Poppy, and scientist and mother Chloe, tells me that her Bela Vista Project resulted from a chance meeting with a missionary in South Africa
‘I was just staggered — meeting the vo-vo mommas — the grannies who take care of the children, because the [mothers] work in the fields. They are the most incredible women. I was introduced to a vo-vo momma who looked like she must be 200; she didn’t know how old she was — she had no idea.’
Yet, despite the hardships of crushing poverty and extreme old age, her face radiated gratitude. ‘It made me think, “God, Pandora, you’re not grateful for anything. This woman, who’s got nothing, look at her: she’s glad to be alive, she’s grateful to be here”. That had a major effect on me.’
After surmounting numerous hurdles, Pandora has now launched the charity, with two helpers on the ground whom she visits every three months and whom she pays out of her own pocket. ‘I cover all administration costs. So if you give me £50, all of it will go straight into food parcels; not a penny would come out of it for anything else.’
Lady Amelia Windsor
Lady Amelia’s vegan bid gets off to a great start!
Lady Amelia Windsor, once dubbed the most beautiful royal by Tatler magazine, recently asked her followers for tips on how to go vegan.
And the 24-year-old granddaughter of the Duke of Kent took her social media fans’ advice to heart as she was spotted this week in her local Portobello market buying fruit and veg, including a large papaya.
Princess Beatrice has already switched to a vegan diet, following a new royal trend led by the Duchess of Sussex.
Linda McCartney, photographer and wife of Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney, ensured the first ever Q Awards got off to a successful start by doubling up as a waitress.
‘The stars of the show were [Paul] McCartney and Linda,’ reveals Q magazine’s founding editor Mark Ellen. ‘The whole thing was hooked around them. We were desperately worried they wouldn’t turn up on time or wouldn’t turn up at all.
‘They turned up 20 minutes early and the first thing Linda McCartney did was start laying the tables.
‘She got the napkins, knives and forks and started laying all the tables for us.’ One way to sing for your supper . . .
Comedian Jack is no model boyfriend
They became an official couple back in April when they isolated together during lockdown.
And funnyman Jack Whitehall and Roxy Horner’s relationship seems to be going from strength to strength by the look of these snaps from their holiday in Santorini.
The 31-year-old photobombed the British model, 28, as she perched on a rock (below). ‘Ruining Insta moments,’ he writes.
Earlier this month Roxy, who previously dated film star Leonardo DiCaprio, called Whitehall, ‘my king’ on social media as they celebrated his birthday.
Fond memories for Brian Blessed on the 40th anniversary of Flash Gordon in which he played Prince Vultan. At the movie’s climax, Flash leads an attack on the War Rocket with actors dangling on wires, and giant wings on their backs.
He recalls co-ordinating the assault was a nightmare. ‘I had an extra wire on my privates to keep me upright,’ winces Blessed. ‘It took about five or six days to get all the wires and the wings moving at the same time.
Hurlingham’s food for thought
Few establishments preserve their exclusivity as splendidly as Hurlingham, the South-West London club set in 42 perfectly manicured acres, to which the Duchess of Cambridge takes Prince George for tennis lessons.
But that hasn’t prevented Hurlingham, whose members typically pay a subscription of £1,200-a-year, from opting into the Government’s ‘eat-out-to-help-out’ scheme which begins on Saturday, allowing diners a discount of up to £10 per person on their food bills at participating restaurants and ‘other establishments’.
Hurlingham, which recently blew £2.5 million on fees for a development of its Grade-II listed West Wing, declines to comment on its willingness to be lumped in with ‘other establishments’.
But the Treasury points out the scheme is ‘designed to protect the jobs of the 1.8 million people in restaurants, pubs and cafes’.
Good to see that it extends to Hurlingham’s new chairman, Lord Snowdon’s Old Etonian cousin, Luke Nunneley.
Sarah Sands, the departing Radio 4 Today editor, couldn’t help perusing the job advert for her successor.
‘I noted that qualifications include “openness and collaboration with other programmes” and “long experience as a programme maker”,’ she said.
‘I texted my boss to say I wish the BBC all the best and note that I don’t actually qualify for the job.’
Fortunately, Owenna Griffiths, award-winning editor of Radio 4’s PM and Broadcasting House who takes over at Today in September, more than meets the specification.
Queen’s Corgis should put a smile on HM’s face
The Queen has not yet been seen wearing a face mask, but she may be tempted by these.
Artist Cindy Lass (right) has produced some masks bearing an image of her 2006 portrait of Her Majesty’s seven Corgis.
‘They’re flying out,’ Cindy tells me. ‘I’ve already got orders from the British Embassy in Rome, as well as from Australia.’
The original painting hangs in the Queen’s quarters in Buckingham Palace. Her last Corgi died in 2018.
She now has two ‘Dorgis’ — Corgi-Dachshund crosses — Candy and Vulcan. Cindy adds: ‘In these times, we need something to make us smile.’
Dom Joly says his children have regrets about swapping the family’s rural idyll for city life. ‘It’s been almost a year since we made the move from country back into town.
This was mainly because my kids wanted ‘fast internet and Deliveroo’— but oh, how they regretted this decision when lockdown came. ‘No more cricket nets, swimming pools, acres of socially distant space to play in . . .’
Paxo proves he still has plenty of bite
During his quarter century as the BBC’s most fearsome rottweiler, Jeremy Paxman had to keep his political views secret. Now, he’s free to speak his mind.
‘You can usually rely on Labour governments to wreck the economy,’ the University Challenge host claims. ‘Instead, a Conservative regime has given a masterclass in bankrupting the country. It’s humiliating.
‘We have seen that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has the intellectual vitality of a three-toed sloth, and [Education Secretary] Gavin Williamson all the authority of a geography supply teacher asked to supervise Year Ten remedial maths.’
Paxo says of Boris: ‘At the start of this year, the Prime Minister looked as if he could walk on water.
‘Confronted with a problem, he sank like a toppled statue.’
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