Great British Bake Off contestant Dawn Hollyoak dies aged 61

The Great British Bake Off contestant Dawn Hollyoak has died “peacefully”, according to a post on her Instagram account.

An baker from Bedfordshire, Hollyoak had been working as an IT manager before joining the BBC competition’s 2022 series.

She appeared in seven episodes of season 13, and made it through till the sixth round.

“It’s with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our star baker Dawn,” began the post, which announced the news of her death.

“Not only a wonderfully talented baker but first and foremost an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend,” it continued.

The post – which went out to her 10,500 followers – went on to say that Hollyoak had died “peacefully surrounded by her family”.

“We will miss her forever, but promise to continue her baking legacy,” it concluded.

The caption accompanied a photograph of Hollyoak smiling by a kitchen countertop, holding a mug in her hands, and what appears to be a plate of pastries just visible in the corner of the picture.

People shared their sympathies in the comment section of the post, including Carole Edwards, who was a fellow contestant on the same series.

“I will miss my friend terribly, a beautiful and talented lady inside and out, fly high my friend, life just won’t be the same to you,” she wrote. “Sending all my love to the family. Xx.”

Judge Paul Hollywood was also among the many people to comment. The longtime baking judge added: “I’m so sorry to hear that, send my love to the family a lovely lady x.”

Others fondly recalled watching Hollyoak on their screens. “Oh no, so very sad to hear this. She had such an infectious smile and joyful personality and was a delight to watch,” said one person.

“What a light full of love she emitted,” added another.

For the first episode of the competition, Hollyoak impressed the judges with her lime, coconut and tamarind spring cakes – placing third in the technical challenge.

Prior to the death announcement, Hollyoak’s last post was in August 2023, in which she posted a hyper realistic cake that she had made resembling a lion’s head to pay tribute to the Lionesses.

“Lion cake to wish our girls the very best of luck today @lionesses,” she wrote, in reference to the England women’s football team.