Saturday 7 December 2019

George Shelley on life after sister’s death: I’m seeing colour again

The former I’m A Celebrity star became emotional during an interview about his sister’s death.

George Shelley's sister died after being hit by a car and hitting her head during a night out (ITV)
George Shelley's sister died after being hit by a car and hitting her head during a night out (ITV)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Former Union J star George Shelley fought back tears as he said he is finally “seeing colour again” nearly nine months after the death of his sister.

The 24-year-old singer’s sister Harriet died aged 21 in May last year after being hit by a car and hitting her head during a night out outside a Stormzy gig in Bristol.

Speaking to ITV’s Lorraine, Shelley said: “I’ve had a pretty rubbish year, I’ve experienced things I never thought I would have to experience.

“I’ve come out of it the other end after thinking it wasn’t going to go like this.”

He said of his sister: “She was having a night out, a standard night out, she was just drinking – and you’ve got to be so careful with alcohol guys, just be careful with how much you’re drinking on nights out.

“It was so innocent, she just needed a wee, and she ran out in-between two tour buses, I believe they were Stormzy’s tour buses, he was playing in the venue she was going to.

“It was a very silly mistake, it was nothing to do with the car, she fell back and hit her head on one of the buses, it was damaged.

“She was in intensive care for a week, we were watching the brain pressure go up and down. It was, ‘She’s going to live, she’s going to live’.”

Shelley said that he had “hope” during the week she was in hospital, but that he and his family were later told that the brain specialists said: “Even if she pulls through, she’s gone.”

He praised his sister, who saved several lives by donating her organs, and said that he has now started to see an improvement in his life.

“Do you know what it is, I’m seeing colour again,” he said.

“For so long, for months, I was in my bedroom with the lights off, there were takeaway bags everywhere, and I didn’t speak to my friends, it was just a nightmare.

“And then one morning I woke up and looked out of my window, and the sun was just rising – it was the first time I’d been up in the morning. The light was beautiful, and there was a picture of me and my dad, and I was just like, I saw this colour and it was the light from the sun.

“I have a salt rock lamp and there was a blue photo frame and it just looked gorgeous, like it was sparkling, and that just gave me a bit of like, let’s go and do something really cool now.”

Shelley, whose father had been in a serious bike accident before Harriet’s death, appeared on the programme to share his backing of mental health charity Mind’s Time to Talk campaign.

He said: “I’m so passionate about this, it’s one of the first things I’ve done that I’m so passionate about.”

Of speaking to someone when in need, he said: “It’s about having someone to talk to. It’s like having a punch bag.”

Shelley found fame on The X Factor in 2012 after being teamed with a trio to form boyband Union J, but left the group in March 2016 to focus on solo music, acting and broadcasting.

He has appeared in an episode of BBC sitcom Murder In Successville and was a runner-up on ITV reality show I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015.

PA Media

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