Liverpudlian grandmother Flo has become the third person to leave the Great British Bake Off tent after her pirate’s chest made of bread was not the treasure she hoped for.
The fan favourite, 71, applied for the show after her husband of 48 years, Richard, died of leukaemia.
She embarked on bread week declaring “I’ve been making bread for 40 years” but also revealed she has never timed her bakes and struggled to impress the judges with her offerings.
Her signature teacake bake, with cinnamon orange and mixed fruit with whiskey jam, did not have enough salt or fruit and her oven was set too low, according to judge Paul Hollywood.
She also came near the bottom of the pack during the technical challenge when Hollywood said her cottage loaf needed another 20 minutes in the oven.
For the showstopper challenge of a bread sculpture using natural food colours, she whipped up Davy Jones’ locker, made with with squid ink, paprika and beetroot.
While judge Prue Leith said it was “very ingenious”, she added it was “a little too clumsy to come off perfectly”.
After leaving the tent, she said: “I feel since Bake Off I have blossomed and it has given me the strength to carry on.
“Bake Off has made me a stronger person.
“When Richard died, I felt that half of me had gone, I had lost my soulmate, but now I feel I have my confidence back.”
She added: “Richard would have said ‘don’t be doing it love’, he probably wouldn’t have wanted me to go through the stress of it.
“But I know on seeing it he would have been as proud as punch, and said well done.
“My son got a message on his phone from the nurses on Ward 24, Aintree Hospital [who looked after Richard] and all the nurses said ‘Go Flo, Go Flo!’.
“That made me night and I was really choked, that meant more than anything as I don’t really follow Twitter or social media. To get a message from those busy nurses was really heartwarming.
“I have had a long journey to get where I am, and to other wives who lose their beloved husband I would like to say it does get better in time, I didn’t think I would make it but I did. After the rain, there is sunshine.”
Steven Carter-Bailey’s run as star baker came to an end when Julia Chernogorova took the crown after impressing with her earl grey, apricot and cherry teacakes, her second place in the technical challenge and her bread sculpture of a country scene with a mushroom and a snail, which raised eyebrows from the judges for its phallic shape.
After a disastrous teacake round, Carter-Bailey redeemed himself with his showstopping bread handbag with chorizo and manchego, prompting Hollywood to offer him his place as a judge next to Leith while he took his seat among the bakers.
However, it was not enough to land him the star baker role for a third week in a row.
The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4.