Troubled TV girl Gail Porter working in Mary Portas's charity shop
Gail Porter, once one of Britains highest-paid TV pin-up girls, is working at a charity shop
Troubled Gail Porter, once one of Britain’s highest-paid TV pin-up girls, is working at a charity shop.
Gail, 40, who last year described herself as ‘old and knackered, bald and mental’ after suffering a breakdown and spending several weeks in a psychiatric unit, lives near to one of retail tsar Mary Portas’s charity outlets, Living And Giving, in fashionable Primrose Hill, North London.
Alopecia-sufferer Gail is regularly to be found doing voluntary shifts at the shop which sells everything from second-hand shoes and discounted designer dresses to books. It raises money for Save The Children.
Single-mother Gail began working there a month ago as she rebuilt her life and is already a popular member of staff, I am told. Alas, she has not been able to escape the rigours of urban living because the shop has recently been targeted by thieves.
Only this week Gail was appealing for the return of a sign, inscribed Home Sweet Home, which has been stolen and she says: ‘I am gobsmacked. Maybe I am naive, but I really didn’t think people had it in them to steal from a charity.’
The pink-and-cream sign, she explains, had been hanging outside the shop for two months. But when staff went to open up for business at the start of this week, it was missing.
‘They must have brought tools with them and it must have taken ten minutes to unscrew it,’ says Gail. ‘On Monday when all the volunteers found out it was gone, we were devastated.
‘The idea of stealing from a charity is shocking.’
Scots-born Gail, who has a daughter, Honey, aged nine, by her estranged guitarist husband Dan Hipgrave of rock band Toploader, got her big break in 1997 as presenter of ITV’s children’s show Fully Booked.
Gail, 40, lives near to one of retail tsar Mary Portas's charity outlets, Living And Giving, in fashionable Primrose Hill, North London
But her life fell apart after she suffered post-natal depression and the collapse of her marriage. In 2005, she attempted suicide and her blonde hair fell out.
At the height of her fame her naked bottom was projected on the Houses of Parliament.
A Save The Children spokeswoman says: ‘Gail has been fantastic. It is not our first theft — someone stole a fabulous Ossie Clark dress from the window.'