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Exclusive: Kelsey Parker reveals bittersweet plans nearly a year after husband Tom’s death

The Wanted star’s widow Kelsey sat down with HELLO! for a moving interview to mark International Women’s Day

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Kelsey Parker is a real life superwoman and mum. As the one-year anniversary of her husband Tom Parker's death approaches, Kelsey has been navigating being a solo parent to their two children Aurelia, nearly three, and Bodhi, two. "I am now both their mum and dad," she tells HELLO! in a special interview to mark International Women’s Day.

Kelsey, who turns 33 this week, tells us her children have kept her strong while dealing with the grief of losing The Wanted singer to a brain tumour.

"I never wanted it to be sad for the kids. Whenever we filmed anything, Tom and I used to dance together because we were not going to let our house be a sad environment for them. I'm going to show them, like Tom showed them, how strong you can be," she says.

"He was ill, but he got on stage and did an arena show. He showed the children how amazing he was. Obviously, I facilitated everything for Tom and whatever he wanted to do, I made sure it happened for him because I wanted to make his every dream come true.

Kelsey and Tom attending the glamorous Pride Of Britain Awards

"Bodhi was born into a situation you wouldn’t want to be born into. His dad was really ill, we were fighting for Tom’s life and I was trying to raise the kids at the same time, but hopefully, they’ll look at me one day and say: 'Wow, my mum is so strong'," she explains.

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A busy working mum, Kelsey continues to run her business, K2K Stars Performing Arts School in Orpington, south east London, with her best friend. More recently, she touched the hearts of many when she opened up in her TV documentary Kelsey Parker: Life after Tom.

Kelsey Parker's plans for this year as we approach one-year anniversary of husband Tom's death?

She is now making it her mission to spread the word about cancer and grief – and after taking part in a gruelling five-day fundraising trek across the Sahara Desert last year, organised by Giovanna Fletcher, she has big plans. "I want to raise more money, help people and spread the knowledge of what I’ve learned on this journey. I feel like last year I let everything settle," she reveals.

Kelsey Parker with her children© Photo: Instagram

The mum has been staying strong for her kids

"But this year, I’m really up for the challenge of sharing my knowledge of everything that I've learned about grief and cancer. There's so much that I've learned on the journey that I never wanted to be on. But now I've learned that I need to spread the word and help other people. Healing and happiness this year."

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Tom died in March last year aged just 33 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in October 2020, two years after their fairytale wedding. Asked who her biggest supporter is, Kelsey muses: "I guess it still is Tom, because souls are endless and he’s here somewhere supporting me. I’m doing all of this for him and for the kids."

Kelsey Parker poses in suit

The mum-of-two is a real life superwoman

Copyright: Archive by Ryan courtesy of S Creative

Of her achievements, she adds: "I think Tom would be so proud. He has always been so proud of me. So I think for him he'd probably be overwhelmed with what's actually happened."

What happened when Kelsey Parker set up the GoFundMe page?

Following his death, Kelsey set up a GoFundMe page that raised more than £70,000 for charitable causes in the Glad You Came singer’s name. "Living in hell for 18 months after Tom was diagnosed and looking at every option and knowing that there’s so little that the NHS can do for brain tumours, I want to know now that Tom didn’t die in vain. To know that he has made a difference and we both made a difference was massive to me."

Ed Sheeran put his arm around Tom Parker© Photo: Getty Images

Tom's friend Ed Sheeran selflessly paid for some of the medical bills and Kelsey will forever be grateful to the singer, whose wife Cherry Seaborn was secretly battling a tumour of her own, for his generosity.

Who are Kelsey Parker's inner circle of women who give her support?

The women in Kelsey's life have also been an incredible support to her, especially her mum, who she fondly describes as "supermum". She has great love for Tom's mum Noreen as well as her auntie, her nan and her best friends who rallied around her. "Everyone just stepped up," she says. "They would come in and just sit with me because when Tom first died, I couldn’t even get off the sofa. I didn’t know what to do, what to say to people because it blindsided me. I know he had terminal cancer but I didn’t think that he was going to die.

Kelsey Parker poses in floral nude dress

She is surrounded by a good female network

Copyright: Archive by Ryan courtesy of S Creative

"You realise how kind and thoughtful other people are and I do think for women as well that they put themselves in my shoes and think, 'Oh my God, what do I do if I lost my husband, how can I help?'"

As a woman, the hardest thing Kelsey has ever faced was her husband being diagnosed with a brain tumour and then the pain of losing him, but she had to put their children first. "His diagnosis changed our whole entire world and life," she reveals.

"But then losing him, I never thought that was going to happen and then how I pulled it together and thought, 'How do I stay strong and be there for my kids when I’ve lost the love of my life and they’ve lost their dad? How do I show them that I’m not breaking and that in really, really, hard times, s*** times that you can stay strong and you can get through it?'"

How has Kelsey Parker been managing solo parenting?

Raising two children on her own has been hard – and lonely, too. "Do you know what’s really tough? We call ourselves 'solo parents' because it's on you all the time. Discipline, happiness, getting them to school, making lunches, just little things. I can’t share that happiness with Tom," she admits.

"When the kids are at gymnastics and Aurelia's doing a roly-poly, you take a picture or film it and send it to your special person, and it's really lonely that it's just me and I can’t share that with Tom. He would be so proud of them."

Kelsey Parker holds her dog while wearing revealing blazer

Kelsey has a kind mission this year

Copyright: Archive by Ryan courtesy of S Creative

Kelsey insists we should celebrate mums everywhere "because it’s the toughest job you’ll ever have to do". "Celebrate mums!" Kelsey says. "Sometimes it is the hardest job ever. When the kids are crying and moaning and they're not happy about certain things and you feel guilty for whatever you've done. But then it is also the most rewarding job that you can have."

Although she admits she hasn’t quite "hit the light" while navigating her own grief journey yet, Kelsey shares some inspirational words for other mothers out there on their own. "You've just got to stay strong – there is a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere," she says.

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