Six glamorous women have joined together on a panel to find the winner of HELLO! magazine’s Search for a Star Mum competition. Photographer and presenter Penny Lancaster, singer and actress Kimberley Walsh, Formula 1 presenter Natalie Pinkham, Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, newsreader Kate Silverton and blogger Jessica Knowles were all selected by HELLO! to help find incredible mothers who aren’t in the spotlight. Hundreds of worthy candidates nominated by friends or family were whittled down by the women to five finalists.
The panel of celebrity mums who have helped find the winner of our Search for a Star Mum competition
The winner – who gets prizes including include an overnight stay for two at London’s five-star Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel and two tickets to the hit West End show Matilda: The Musical, as well as their own HELLO! photoshoot – will be selected this week via Facebook Messenger or HELLO's website, hellomagazine.com. All six of the glamorous women – who have ten children between them – pose for an exclusive photoshoot for the next issue, out 19 March 2017. And in the accompanying interview, they open up about their views on motherhood as well as what they are looking for in a winner.
"What a competition this is going to be," Penny told HELLO!. "There are some real tear-jerkers amongst the entries. Each one is compelling but I’m especially drawn to the mums who don’t just put themselves out for their families, but who seem to be mums for everybody." And former Girls Aloud star Kimberley says that some of the stories of those nominated stayed with her for a long time. "Every entry has deserved recognition but there are some that you can’t stop thinking about. Being a mum is the best job in the world but there are some amazing women out there who find the capacity to extend that love and compassion and energy beyond their own families, and that is really something." Kimberly added that she was overwhelmed after reading the entries for the competition. "What are you trying to do to me? I’m sleep deprived and hormonal!"
MORE: Meet the inspirational winners of the Star Mum competition
Kimberley Walsh is one of the Star Mum judges
Like all of our judges, Kimberley enjoys a close relationship with her own mother. "My mum Diane raised my brother, my two sisters and me largely by herself as my mum and dad separated when we were young. I look at her now, having the two boys myself, and think, 'Four kids – wow, how did you do that?' Not only did she do it, but she did it in such a chilled and calm way despite working more than one job, and always encouraged us to follow our dreams. "I always knew she was amazing but having children of my own has definitely made me appreciate that more."
Sky Sports presenter Natalie, who stepped in as a Star Mum judge after businesswoman Tamara Ecclestone was forced to pull out when her daughter Sophia contracted a serious ear infection, echoes that sentiment. "It’s so hard to pick a winner because all of the women are so worthy," she said, who has a two-year-old son, Wilf, and a nine-month-old daughter, Willow, with her businessman husband Owain Walbyoff.
Olympic swimmer Rebecca took the opportunity to pay tribute to her own mother, Kay – saying she owes all her success to her. "She was the one who got up at 4.30 in the morning to ferry me to the pool for training. She became my nutritionist, physio, taxi driver, financial support, emotional support. I’m lucky to consider her a friend, too, and I hope I mirror that with my own daughter." Having a strong family unit is important to all the Star Mum judges, and something that 29-year-old Jessica knows all about. When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last summer, within months of separating from her TV presenter husband Nick Knowles, the support of her mum Su proved invaluable. "She was there through everything and never allowed me to sink," she said. Their bond grew even stronger when, just last month, Jessica was admitted to hospital suffering from the life- threatening condition sepsis.
Kate Silverton is also part of the celebrity judging panel
READ: Lisa Faulkner opens up about motherhood ahead of Mother's Day
BBC news anchor Kate said one of her favourite compliments came courtesy of her mother Patricia. "She told me I was a fun mum. That was really lovely because that’s what I always hoped to be." Kate has a five-year-old daughter, Clemency, and two-year-old son, Wilbur, with her security expert husband Mike Heron. "I was talking to Penny earlier about how becoming a parent allows you to relive the joy and the magic of your own childhood," she said. Mother's Day is extra poignant for Kate too, who at one point didn't think that she would ever be a mum. "In my 30s I didn’t think I could have children and so Mother’s Day was my saddest day. Now, it’s something so special to be part of and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity this year to celebrate the incredible mums who have been nominated for Star Mum. We can all do okay in life when things are going well. It’s when we’re faced with challenges that we show our true mettle," she said.