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First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths gives update after undergoing life-saving surgery to remove tumour

Merlin was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year

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@merlinfdc4 / Instagram

First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths has shared an update after he underwent life-saving ‘robotic’ surgery to remove a tumour.

Merlin, who rose to fame as the friendly bartender on the Channel 4 dating show, announced that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in September last year after doctors unearthed a stage three tumour.

The forty-six-year old vowed to not let the disease get the better of him and immediately began treatment, with him sharing regular updates with fans on social media.

And last week, Merlin shared the news that he was undergoing robotic surgery to fully remove his tumour, posting a selfie from hospital and writing: “Ready as I’ll ever be. Tumour removal time.”

He provided an update a couple of hours later post-surgery, explaining that there were ‘tubes outta everywhere’ and ‘aches and pains’ but, miraculously, ‘no tumour!’.

And yesterday, six days on from the surgery, Merlin gave another update on his recovery, where he shared his amazement at how quickly he had got back up on his feet.

Sharing a smiling selfie from outside, Merlin wrote: “And breathe. 6 days, start to finish. Now for real #cancer recovery. I’ve had open laparotomies before and the recovery was 6 weeks in hospital before robotic surgery!! Amazing.”

Merlin was diagnosed with the disease after experiencing pain he initially believed to be caused from an injury he had suffered at the age of twenty.

Merlin told The Mirror of the devastating diagnosis at the time: “I thought, as most people must when they get a diagnosis, ‘Oh f**k, I’ve got cancer’. When I saw my tumour on a screen I could see this big, alien-like fleshy constriction. The doctors said, ‘It looks like a malignant tumour’.

“I knew what that meant – it was still alive and growing. But I was also relieved. I’d spent three months telling doctors something’s wrong. No one could give me an answer until now.

“I also wanted to know, what are my chances of surviving? It’s terrifying – of course I want to live. I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’.

“I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other.”

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Boris Johnson was ‘not partying’ in photo of him drinking at ‘party’, Tory MP says

New photos show the Prime Minister raising a glass during an alleged leaving party in November 2020

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Number 10 / Flickr

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended Boris Johnson after newly-released photos showed him drinking during an alleged lockdown party.

ITV News published four photos showing the Prime Minister raising a glass with a group of aides around a table littered with alcoholic drinks and party food on November 13th 2020, when the country was in its second national lockdown.

The photos, which were reportedly taken during a leaving party, cast fresh doubt on Johnson’s claims that he was unaware of rule-breaking in Downing Street during the pandemic.

However, a number of Tory MPs have spoken out in defense of Johnson, including Shapps, who insisted that Johnson ‘wasn’t partying’ in the first place.

Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley this morning, Shapps said: “The question is, was he down there partying?

“No, clearly not. He’d gone by to say thanks and to raise a glass to a colleague who was leaving. And, you know, the answer to this of course, is the police have spent a lot of time with a lot of people and a lot of resources… And they’ve come to their conclusion. 

Read More: Sue Gray report set to be ‘published in full next week’ as partygate investigation ends

“As we know, he wasn’t fined for that event.”

The Cabinet minister went on to say that Johnson is ‘completely mortified’ by the publishing of the photos, acknowledging that ‘it shouldn’t have happened’. 

He said: “He [Johnson] has paid the fifty quid fine. That’s the right thing to do. He’s human, and sometimes humans make mistakes.”

Shapps added: “I don’t think the fact of the pictures, us seeing them for the first time, changes what the police and Sue Gray already know.”

Just one week ago, it was announced that Sue Gray’s highly-publicised report into government misconduct during the Covid lockdowns had been completed.

A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.

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Gino D’Acampo hits back at ‘haters’ who criticised him for kissing daughter on lips

The celebrity chef came under fire for being ‘too affectionate’ with his eight-year-old daughter Mia

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@iamginodacampo / Instagram

Gino D’Acampo has hit back at ‘all the haters out there’ who criticised him for kissing his daughter on the lips.

The celebrity chef shared two photos of himself and his eight-year-old daughter Mia, one in which the pair shared a kiss and the other showing them laughing candidly together.

Gino captioned the post: “To all the haters out there……yes I still kiss my principessa on the lips, get over it and get a life”.

The famed chef was met with a wave of support from his followers for sharing the post, with his teenage son Rocco also commenting with a series of hearts.

Another fan commented: “Blooming Nora, please tell me this is a joke? My son is 20 and I still kiss and cuddle him!”

While another questioned: “How can anyone say it’s wrong to kiss your child?!?!”

Read More: Gino D’Acampo’s Manchester restaurant to close permanently

Though Gino hasn’t always received this level of praise, with him recently dividing opinions after revealing his daughter gets sent to bed on an empty stomach if she doesn’t eat her dinner.

Appearing on the Sweat, Snot and Tears podcast late last year, Gino said he thinks children become fussy eaters as a result of parents who can’t be bothered to ‘fight’ over meal times.

He said: “When people talk to me about fussy children with food and ask me, ‘What do I think?’ I tell them there is no such a thing as a fussy child. There isn’t.

“But there is a thing of moron parenting. By moron, I mean idiots. A child doesn’t grow up fussy, it’s not possible. It’s the parents.”

Gino also likened his children to training a puppy, saying: “I’m not comparing a dog to a child, for God’s sake, but it’s the same as a when you have a little puppy.

“You only have to tell him off and pretend to smack him a couple of times not to do the wee on the floor. Eventually, he’s not going to do the wee on the floor, he’s going to go outside.”

An interesting perspective…

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Manchester Airport described as ‘hell on earth’ with long queues and waits of up to four hours this morning

The airport has been plagued by lengthy queues and delays for months now

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@AdamThomas442 & @Elwick70 / Twitter

Manchester Airport has been described as ‘hell on earth’ as passengers were forced to queue for up to four hours this morning.

Frustrated travellers shared photos and videos of the carnage on social media, with the airport being described as ‘absolute and complete chaos’. 

Huge queues at check-in desks and security were reported across the morning, as well as long waits for luggage in arrivals.

Passenger Amy McDonald wrote on Twitter: “Never seen anything like it before at Manchester Airport, queued for 2 hours and when our flight was called it was a free for all… hope our bag has made it”.

Mhari Oaks said of her experience this morning: “Hell on earth this morning @manairport – avoid it like the plague!!!

“Everyone missing flights despite getting there 3 hours before departure. Absolute and complete chaos. No check in staff.”

Read More: Andy Burnham warns queues and disruption at Manchester Airport will continue for ‘two months’

Marion Wolstenholme described customers as being ‘upset, anxious and frustrated’, writing: “Chaos @manairport this morning.

“Almost 2 hours queuing to drop of case and still no end in sight. Really really poor – No organisation, no communication.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham previously warned that the lengthy queues and delays – said to be a result of staff shortages and increased passenger demand – will continue for the ‘foreseeable future’.

Following a meeting with airport bosses last month, Burnham said that while the airport has made efforts to recruit, ‘more should have been done earlier’, and that its communication to passengers ahead of and upon arrival should have been better, as should the management of the queues.

At this, Burnham offered three pieces of advice to passengers planning on travelling from the airport in the next few months:

  • Arrive at the airport three hours before your flight.
  • Check your baggage into the hold in advance if possible.
  • If you have to carry hand luggage please try to minimise it and ensure it is correctly packed before you leave home.

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