Joe Swash included a touching tribute to his late friend Caroline Flack as he took to the ice for the last time on Sunday. The 38-year-old, who was crowned Dancing on Ice champion, impressed the judges and viewers with a Charlie Chaplin-inspired performance, with the set including a poster emblazoned with the words 'Be Kind'. Following Caroline's death on 15 February, #BeKind started trending on social media in honour of a post Caroline had shared at the end of last year, which read: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind."
Joe Swash spoke about his 'Be Kind' poster on Instagram
Taking to Instagram Stories ahead of the final, Joe spoke about his inclusion of the poster. Standing next to the sign, Joe told his fans: "I asked them [Dancing On Ice] whether they could put the words Be Kind on a poster, so what they've done is they've put up this poster and at the top they've put the words 'Be Kind'. Obviously we lost Caroline and we're trying to spread the word, we need everyone to be kinder."
MORE: Joe Swash's family: meet his kids, sister and girlfriend Stacey Solomon
Stacey Solomon discusses wedding rumours on Loose Women
Joe's sweet gesture comes a few weeks after he was seen looking visibly upset on the show, just one day after learning of the death of his close friend. He told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at the time that it had been a "tough day". Joe's skating partner Alex Murphy shared: "This was really hard to get through and do a happy number when he feels the way that he feels, so I'm so proud of him."
MORE: Christopher Dean's family: who are the Dancing on Ice judge's children and wife?
Addressing Joe, Phillip added: "We've got to point out to everyone that you were very, very close to Caroline. It’s been an amazingly tough day and she'd be so proud of you." ''I just want to send my love to her family and friends," Joe said, as the studio audience broke into applause.
Joe and partner Alex Murphy are the 2020 Dancing on Ice champions
Joe and Alex were crowned DOI 2020 champions, finishing off their performances with the Bolero – the routine that won judges Christopher Dean and Jayne Torvill the gold medal at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics. It secured their victory ahead of runners-up Perri Kiely and Vanessa Bauer in second place, and Paralympian Libby Clegg and Mark Hanretty in third.
Joe's proud partner Stacey Solomon has since shared a loving tribute to the star. "Firstly, EVERYONE in the final tonight was AMAZING & deserved that trophy," she tweeted. "Secondly, Joe we're all so immensely proud of u. to anyone who voted, thank u from the bottom of our hearts, He put his heart & soul into DOI & has LOVED every minute. It meant the world to him. So thank u."