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X Factor star Lucy Spraggan says Simon Cowell will walk her down the aisle | Ents & Arts News

X Factor star Lucy Spraggan has revealed she is getting married and that Simon Cowell will walk her down the aisle.

The 32-year-old singer-songwriter, who appeared on the reality show in 2012, announced on Instagram she is due to marry her girlfriend Emilia Smith in June.

Alongside various shots of the couple celebrating their engagement, Spraggan wrote: “‘When you know, you know’

“That’s the response we’ve heard the most over the last few weeks when Emilia & I have told our people that we are, in fact, getting married in June.

“That’s a phrase I really thought I understood throughout my life, that I believed I had a full appreciation of but…

“It wasn’t until I fell in love with my friend of 10 years that I truly felt it.”

Los Angeles red carpet of 'America's Got Talent: Fantasy League' ** STORY AVAILABLE, CONTACT SUPPLIER** Featuring: Simon Cowell Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 15 Nov 2023 Credit: Faye's Vision/Cover Images  (Cover Images via AP Images)
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Cowell created singing competition The X Factor in 2004. Pic: AP

It comes as the singer said that Cowell – who created The X Factor in 2004 with his production company Syco TV – agreed to give her away.

“One morning, Simon was about to get in the sea and I said: ‘Will you give me away?’ and he replied: ‘Yeah!’ He went off for a swim and when he came back, he said: ‘I’d absolutely love to. It would be an honour,'” Spraggan told The Sun’s Fabulous magazine.

Last July Spraggan revealed that she suddenly left the ITV talent show during the live rounds after being raped.

She was 20 years old at the time of the attack, which she said was carried out by a hotel porter following a night out with fellow contestants. He pleaded guilty and was given a 10-year prison sentence.

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'The X Factor Live' TV Programme, London, Britain - 20 Oct 2012
Lucy Spraggan

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Spraggan on The X Factor in 2012. Pic: Ken McKay/Thames/Shutterstock

The singer told Sky News in August 2023 that she opened up about her traumatic experiences in both her memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through, and her seventh album.

She said that an apology from Cowell paved the way for her healing process.

The 64-year-old said sorry after Spraggan wrote to the companies behind The X Factor: ITV, Fremantle and Syco, detailing her experience in 2012.

Cowell said in a statement: “What happened to Lucy was horrific and heartbreaking… Since we connected, I have had the honour to work with Lucy and I have always supported her wish to tell her story, as well as her efforts to bring about positive change.”

Read more from Sky News:
Colin Farrell: Film ‘teaches me how to be a human being’
Gen V star dies in motorbike crash aged 27
Pop star Lizzo quits music industry

Spraggan now says she feels like Cowell and his wife Lauren Silverman are like her surrogate parents.

“I authentically love the guy, I love Lauren, I love their son Eric, I love Lauren’s other son Adam,” she said.

“We’re all great friends. I care about them, they care about me, and Simon really cares about my life, my wellness and my music. Simon and Lauren feel like surrogate parents. They’re always looking out for me.”

Spraggan was previously married to Georgina Gordon, who she met shortly after her X Factor stint, and in November 2019 she announced they had split after three years of marriage.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

Cabinet secretary Simon Case back at work after missing COVID inquiry, reshuffle and Rwanda row | Politics News

Simon Case, the head of the civil service, has returned to work after more than two months on sick leave.

The cabinet secretary, who has not publicly disclosed his illness, has been attending meetings in the last few days, the Politics At Jack And Sam’s Podcast revealed today.

Mr Case was originally due to be off for four weeks from 23 October but this period was extended through the rest of the autumn.

Listen to the podcast below for more on Simon Case and a look ahead at the week’s political news.

He was unable to attend as a witness before the COVID inquiry, although Heather Hallett, the COVID inquiry chair, said he will still be asked to give evidence to the inquiry at a later date.

She allowed him to skip his scheduled questioning after reviewing his medical records.

Mr Case was also absent during a reshuffle and the constitutional and political turmoil of the Rwanda Bill, while the civil service received criticism for factually inaccurate social media posts over the legal immigration change.

More on Politics At Jack And Sam’s Podcast

Some senior figures in government had been unsure whether he would ever return to the critical role.

However, he attended a gathering of permanent secretaries at an away day before Christmas and has been seen in meetings in the last few days.

Read more:
PM ‘didn’t doubt’ Rwanda scheme when chancellor
Peter Bone’s partner chosen for by-election
Economy to the fore as election campaign begins

At this point, he indicated that while still recovering, he expected to return at some point.

Civil servants have not been informed more widely that Mr Case is back at work, however, and there is some anger about being kept in the dark.

The job had been split between four different permanent secretaries in his absence.

Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson resigns | Business News

The Royal Mail chief executive is to step down, parent firm International Distributions Services has announced.

As first reported by Sky News, Simon Thompson had been in talks to leave the company after his credibility was challenged by MPs who recalled him for questioning at the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee. He was accused of giving “inconsistencies” in evidence before the committee.

The company said it was in “advanced stages” of appointing a new chief executive and Mr Thompson will remain with the business until 31 October as part of the transition.

The former state-owned company was locked into a bitter dispute with employee members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) which ended last month when an agreement on pay and employment terms was settled.

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Royal Mail boss admits parcels are prioritised over letters

The settlement of that dispute has been listed as a reason for Mr Thompson to leave now.

“The changes we have made, the infrastructure we have put in place, and the agreements negotiated with our trade unions mean that Royal Mail now has a chance to compete and grow,” he said.

“That is what I have always wanted, and it is now the right time to hand over to a new CEO to deliver the next stage of the company’s reinvention.”

Mr Thompson took on the chief executive role just over two years ago in January 2021. Prior to his appointment he served as a non-executive director of the board since 2017.

He thanks his team for their support in what he acknowledged as a “difficult and important time of change”.

Royal Mail is owned by International Distributions Services plc (IDS) who also own an Amsterdam-based logistics company General Logistics Systems.

The postal delivery company had been under pressure to implement modernising reforms after reporting millions of pounds of losses. In October it announced a process to make 5,000 to 6,000 roles redundant by August.

The financial hit of industrial action was estimated to have been £200m in the first nine months of IDS’s financial year to the end of December.

But the CWU general secretary laid the blame on Mr Thompson.

“Simon Thompson is one of the key individuals responsible for the financial crisis that Royal Mail Group has created over the course of the last year.”

“The chief executive was also one of the key people responsible for the appalling mantra of ‘it’s our business to run’ – which saw the employer openly attack its own workforce on a relentless basis, including developing a culture of imposition and creating service quality and USO [universal service obligation] failures on a scale which threatens the future of the company,” Dave Ward said.

“However, we recognise that the chief executive was only one of the senior leadership team responsible for the unacceptable actions and behaviours of managers across the UK throughout this dispute. Further change in Royal Mail group’s leadership team is vital.”

Royal Mail was also subject to a disruptive cyber attack and reported a breach of customer data in the past year.

Simon Thomas announces premature birth of daughter after wife Derrina fell ‘rapidly ill’ | Ents & Arts News

Broadcaster Simon Thomas has thanked hospital staff following the birth of his baby daughter, who arrived eight weeks premature after his wife became “rapidly ill”.

“Not everything in life goes quite according to plan,” Thomas wrote in a post on social media as he shared a picture of his wife Derrina and the newborn at the Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire.

The birth of his baby daughter comes five years after he lost his first wife, Gemma, who died just days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

Following her death, the former Blue Peter and Sky Sports presenter spoke passionately on television and social media about grief and mental health, and supporting their son Ethan through the aftermath of losing his mother, and went on to become a president of the Blood Cancer UK charity.

He married his wife Derrina in July 2021, sharing a picture from the day on Instagram with the caption: “Love. Wins.”

Announcing the birth of their daughter just over a year later, he said Derrina had fallen ill and used the hashtag “pre-eclampsia”.

He wrote: “One moment we think we’ve got eight weeks until our little one arrives; the next, after Derrina fell rapidly ill, we’re suddenly welcoming into the world a very tiny, but hugely precious baby girl weighing just over three pounds.

“The #neonatal team at #stokemandeville hospital were simply incredible and held our hands physically and in spirit the whole way through a very fear filled and stressful day yesterday.

“I cannot express how proud and blessed I feel right now – I have a beautiful, brave wife in @derrina, a precious son and now a tiny, wonderful daughter and sister for our boy Ethan.”

Thomas said the baby would be in hospital “for the next few weeks; but we have the best team around us”.

He added: Thank you Stoke Mandeville, thank you #nhs for being there for us and thank you God for blessing us as a family so much.”