Family fortune smiles on Leiston’s Leon Ottley-Gooch
- Credit: James Ager
LEISTON’S Leon Ottley-Gooch can lay claim to being related to an Olympic gold medal winner and appearing on hit TV show Family Fortunes.
Nicola Adams, who thrilled the nation when she won gold in the women’s boxing at London 2012, is his auntie’s daughter on his father’s side of the family.
He said: “We used to see each other every summer when we were growing up, but she is five years older than me so I am closer to her younger brother, Kurtis.
“She had started to get into boxing the last time I went to visit when I was 13 and she was about 17.
“We always knew she was doing well and winning competitions, but women’s boxing was not really considered a big sport back then.
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“Then she got picked for the Commonwealth Games squad, became British champion and was No.1 in Britain.”
Adams, who hails from Leeds, endeared herself to the nation not only through her ability in the ring, but her infectious personality outside it, and had the whole country willing her on.
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Ottley-Gooch, who works in the finance department at Suffolk County Council, said: “Unfortunately I didn’t get to go to the Olympics – I couldn’t get the time off work, but other members of the family were there to support her including my dad, my uncle and cousin.
“I was sat at work watching the final on my screen and the whole office floor had gathered round and were watching by the time she won!”
As a result of her new-found fame Adams was invited on to Family Fortunes – and Ottley-Gooch appeared alongside Nicola, her brother Kurtis, Leon’s uncle Halstead and his father Robert.
He said: “We went up to Leeds and stayed in an hotel overnight before filming the video tape which forms part of the show, but the actual programme was filmed at Thames Studios in London.
“We were at the studios at mid-day but didn’t start filming until 8.30pm and didn’t leave until 12.30am the next day.
“We were treated like royalty with food and drink laid on. It was an amazing day and we beat (ex-England cricket captain) Michael Vaughan’s family and won £6,500 for charity.
“Arg from TOWIE was there and also Sheree Murphy, wife of former Leeds and Liverpool footballer Harry Kewell.”
Ottley Gooch, who is married with two sons – Harvey, who is eight, and Theo, aged four – admitted: “After appearing on the show I got a few messages and new followers on Twitter, and the missus was not too happy but she took it in good spirits in the end!”
He added: “We were talking with Nicola about getting together in the near future, but it is difficult fitting it into everyone’s schedules with her now being a high-flying celebrity, although it has not changed her at all.”