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Kate Garraway shares daughter Darcey's heartbreaking final message to dad Derek as she returns to GMB after funeral

Derek's funeral was held in London on Friday

Kate Garraway on Good Morning Britain
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Kate Garraway returned to Good Morning Britain on Monday, just days after the funeral of her husband Derek Draper, who passed away in January following several years of serious health complications inflicted by coronavirus.

The presenter joined hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley via a video call from her home in north London, where she spoke about life after Derek's death, opening up about Derek's final days and her daughter Darcey's heartbreaking message to her dad during his final days.

Kate Garraway on GMB© ITV
Kate Garraway appeared on GMB on Monday

After welcoming Kate back to the show, Susanna asked if she'd had a chance to read the book of condolences sent by the Good Morning Britain team. Holding up the book, which contains messages from the public, Kate said: "It's just amazing, it feels like my emotions are at 110%. The unbelievable love we all have as a GMB family, and ITV generally, we are very, very lucky. 

"We have always been so connected in all our joys, our fun and challenges of life that poor Derek has faced head-on and our family has done as well. Having those messages makes me weep because I feel so grateful. I'm also aware that there are people that don't have that sense of love and I just want to share that with you."

When asked by Richard how she managed to stay strong under "phenomenal stresses and strains" over the past few years, Kate said: "I've got a massive debt to so many people, not least Derek because of his spirit and fight to keep going. Never once did he say, 'I don't want to try,'. Neither have the children, they've been extraordinary throughout and I think we have rituals like funerals because there is this extraordinary vacuum." 

Kate Garraway follows the coffin into the funeral service of her husband Derek Draper© Getty
Derek's funeral was held at St Mary the Virgin church in Primrose Hill on Friday

Kate went on to say that after they were given the prognosis that Derek wouldn't survive after going into cardiac arrest in December, the children had time on their own with their dad. "We knew Derek could still hear, and it was a challenge to make sure he knew that he wasn't letting us down because he couldn't get through this last one," she said. 

WATCH: Kate Garraway shares heartbreaking moment between daughter Darcey and Derek

Detailing a heartbreaking moment between Darcey and Derek, a teary Kate said: "Darcey said, 'Dad if you can't do this, we'll be ok. You release yourself if you need to go, don't worry about us'. I thought that was extraordinarily brave."

Opening up about Darcey's decision to carry her father's coffin at his funeral, Kate explained: "That was all her; I was really conscious that the funeral should be about Derek and not ill health. I wanted the funeral to represent everything about him, and she asked can I carry the coffin. It's a practical challenge but she said, 'I want to do it' and insisted on doing it. I thought that was a beautiful thing."

Kate Garraway and son Billy Draper depart the funeral of Derek© Getty
Kate pictured with her son Billy Draper at Derek's funeral

Kate's return comes just two days after Derek's funeral, which was held at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Primrose Hill, London on Friday. 

The broadcaster was joined by several of her ITV colleagues for the intimate service, including  Ben Shephard, Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid. Sir Elton John, his husband David Furnish, former prime minister Sir Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were also among the attendees. 

Cherie and Tony leave the service hand in hand© Getty
Tony Blair and his wife Cherie attended the ceremony

Piers Morgan, Alex Beresford and Myleene Klass also attended the service. Kate and Derek's daughter Darcey, 17, was among the six pallbearers to carry her father's coffin.  Princess Kate didn't attend due to her recent abdominal surgery, but still found the time to send Kate Garraway a 'beautiful letter' from hospital.

Darcey carries her father's coffin as she departs the funeral© Getty
Darcey carried her father's coffin

A source later told HELLO!: "Darcey held it together quite well. The atmosphere was subdued and sombre. There were no tears, everyone was just very quiet." 

A timeline of Derek Draper's health battle

March 2020: Derek is diagnosed with COVID-19

Kate's husband was rushed to hospital after contracting COVID-19. He was left critically ill and would remain in hospital for over a year, fighting complications from the disease.

April 24, 2020: Derek placed in medically induced coma 

Derek was placed in a medically induced coma to help his body battle the impacts of COVID. He lost eight stone during this time.

July 2020: Derek wakes from his coma

Kate revealed he was in a "minimally conscious state".  The presenter and her two children were finally able to visit Derek in hospital as coronavirus restrictions eased.

September 2020: Kate gives an update on Derek's health

Kate revealed that his first word when he came around was "pain". After 214 days in hospital, he was able to breathe without a ventilator.

March 23, 2021: Kate releases Caring for Derek documentary

The ITV programme offered an insight into the family's struggle and how different their lives had been since Derek fell ill.

April 8, 2021: Derek allowed to move home

Kate began providing 24/7 care for Derek at their family home in London. She revealed his speech was "very minimal" and that moving around was difficult.

April 2022: Derek reunites with nurse who cared for him

Kate interviewed his carer, Beth Dixon, on GMB. It was an emotional moment for the whole family.

June 2022: Derek briefly returns to hospital

A family insider said they were worried about Derek's condition. Kate also stepped back from her GMB presenting duties.

January 2023: Derek returns to hospital

Kate revealed Derek had fallen out of his wheelchair and expressed her concern at the long ambulance waiting times.

July 2023: Derek watches Kate receive her MBE

Kate was presented with an MBE for services to journalism. Derek was pictured sitting in a wheelchair and cheering her on in an emotional photograph.

September 2023: Kate shares heartbreaking update

The GMB host admitted they didn't know whether Derek would ever get better.

December 2023: Derek suffers a heart attack

Kate revealed Derek had suffered a setback and was re-admitted to hospital. She said watching her husband struggle daily was "heartbreaking".

Derek was first diagnosed with coronavirus back in 2020 and spent 13 months in hospital before being discharged. He received round-the-clock care at home from specialist nurses and his wife. 

Derek had been in and out of hospital since then for various reasons and in December 2023 was admitted after suffering a cardiac arrest.