Mary Berry opens up to Piers Morgan about the car crash that killed her 19-year-old son

The TV cook and Bake-Off host also admitted to smacking her children

The Great British Bake-Off star Mary Berry  has opened up about the heartbreak she suffered when her son was killed in a car crash aged 19.

The UK’s longest-serving TV cook was a guest on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, due to be aired on Friday 10 January, when the host inevitably questioned her on the most traumatic event of her 78 years.

In 1989, her children William and Annabel left on an ill-fated journey to buy newspapers.

“I remember it well,” Berry told Morgan. “It was a Saturday and he nipped out to get The Times because it had a feature on Business Studies and that’s what he was studying in Bristol.

“He went out with Annabel and it was a beautiful sunny morning. The doorbell rang, I went, and there was a policeman there. It’s very strange but I knew something had happened.

“He said, I’m afraid to say your son has died and Annabel is in High Wycombe Hospital’. I remember thinking then, ‘I just hope Annabel’s alright’.

“So Paul (Hunnings, her husband) came home and we went to the hospital and I can remember endless corridors and then all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I saw a pink tracksuit and Annabel running down the corridor.

“Mud on her, but there she was, perfect. I thought, ‘We’re very blessed that we’ve got Annabel and Thomas, but we don’t have William’.”

“We were lucky to have two other children,” she continued. “Imagine if you have one child and you lose it. I think it brought us all terribly close together.”

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry on The Great British Bake-Off Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry on The Great British Bake-Off Morgan asked the Victoria Sponge queen for her thoughts on disciplining children, after she admitted to smacking her own with a wooden butter pat when they were naughty.

“I don’t think it hurts them too much. I mean it’s quite jokey about these butter pats. A quick slap on the legs, I don’t think it did any harm really,” she said.

Known for her immaculate dress sense and middle-class airs, Berry later surprised the audience by revealing she has enjoyed “a crafty smoke of tobacco” in the past.

“When I was, I supposed about eight or ten, I was with my brothers and we used to have goats, it was in the war and there was a little hut where the goats were and my brothers and I used to go and smoke there,” she revealed.

But fear not, viewers who do not want their image of butter-wouldn’t-melt Mary shattered. “Only a little try,” she vowed. “I didn’t like it I can tell you.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?