Ann Widdecombe’s nephew has told how the star of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing helped him beat his drug addiction.
Sean Widdecombe spoke out after the death of his father Malcolm from cancer on Tuesday, at the age of 73.
He said there was one person in his family he knew he could rely on to help him get over the tragedy – his aunt and godmother, Ann Widdecombe.
The 42-year-old heating engineer revealed the former politician had helped him battle – and defeat – an addiction to cocaine and cannabis 10 years ago.
Sean said: “He (Malcolm) and Ann did help me out through some dark times in my life.
“I have now been clean of drugs for almost 10 years.
“My dad was always there for me if I needed him and Ann also supported me through those bad times – she even paid for an extra week in the Priory Clinic.
“She was wonderful – very supportive.
“We got through it together as a family – just like we are going to get through this.”
Sean’s drug addiction spiralled after he began abusing cannabis as a schoolboy.
By his early twenties he was using cocaine and ecstasy.
But after a spell in the Priory ten years ago to get clean, Sean, from Bristol, has not looked back.
He is now determined the death of father Malcolm, a cannon at St Philip and St Jacob Church in Bristol, won’t knock him back.
Sean said: “I am determined to keep going in the right direction. I will not go back to the problems I had 10 years ago.
“I hated the way I was back then.
“I am looking to the future now. Time is a great healer.
“My dad, Ann and the rest of my family helped me through that period and now we will pull together once more.”
Ann, 63, learnt of her brother’s death during preparations for Strictly Come Dancing with dance partner Anton Du Beke.
She offered Sean and his family some words of comfort, to help them cope with Malcolm’s death.
And Sean also revealed Ann’s battle-axe image masks a much softer side.
He said: “She used to buy me lots of presents when I was younger and has always been there for the family.
“I could not have wished for a better aunt and godmother.
“I don’t know how much this affected her dance preparations – but I know she has been strictly supportive.
“I think she’s doing really well on strictly – she’s almost favourite now!
“One year ago she told me that if John Sergeant can make a fool of himself on Strictly then so can I.
“I said – go for it girl!”
The former Tory minister, sporting a red feather boa, got a standing ovation from her fellow dancers and the audience after her quick-step dance on Saturday night’s show.
The judges also seemed impressed.
Head judge Len Goodman told her: “I can tell you worked very hard, well done.”