Flackstock - 'the perfect way to remember Caroline'

Norfolk TV presenter Caroline Flack, who died in Feburary. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Matt Crossick

- Credit: PA

On Monday a host of celebrities will gather, in front of an audience of friends, family and fans, to celebrate the life of Caroline Flack, who tragically took her own life two-and-a-half years ago, aged 40.

Flackstock is a one-night festival created in the star's honour , bringing together some of her favourite people and music.

For an afternoon and evening her loved ones will put their grief aside to listen to music Caroline loved, laugh with favourite comedians and raise money for causes close to her heart. 

Flackstock will feature appearances from stars including Natalie Imbruglia, Ronan Keating, Pixie Lott, Olly Murs, Fleur East, Louise Redknapp, Paddy McGuinness, Joel Dommett, June Sarpong and Dermot O'Leary, plus Strictly dancers.

Caroline Flack Credit: (C) ITV Plc /Joel Anderson

- Credit: ITV

An inquest into the death of Norfolk-raised TV presenter Caroline Flack will open on Wednesday. Pict

An inquest into the death of Norfolk-raised TV presenter Caroline Flack will open on Wednesday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Olly Murs

Olly Murs - Credit: PA

Fleur_East at Sundown. Picture: Lee Blanchflower

- Credit: Archant

Pixie Lott performing at Festival Too in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Pixie Lott performing at Festival Too in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Caroline’s mum, Christine, who lives near Thetford, said: “Flackstock was the idea of one of Caroline’s friends, Natalie Pinkham. A group of Caroline’s long time closest friends formed a committee and have arranged the whole thing. There have been amazing sponsors, covering most of the costs, so hopefully a lot of money will be raised for our selected charities.” 

Caroline and her twin sister Jody were babies when the family moved to Norfolk. They grew up in Thetford and near Watton with their parents and older brother and sister – with Caroline excelling as a dancer and performer.  

From Watton’s Wayland High School she went on to dance school and landed a role in a television sketch show. She then presented BBC children’s shows and her personality and prodigious presenting gifts soon saw her hosting Gladiators, I'm a Celebrity, The X Factor and ultimately Love Island. 

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Beautiful, charismatic and talented, she won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 - but was also terribly vulnerable.  

Caroline Flack's mum Chris, with the poster encouraging Strictly Come Dancing fans to vote for Carol

Caroline Flack's mum Christine with a poster encouraging Strictly Come Dancing fans to vote for Caroline in 2014 - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Chris and Caroline Flack at a River Island clothing event. Caroline passed up the chance to bring al

Christine and Caroline Flack. - Credit: Chris Flack

Already battling mental health issues, she was driven to despair in the aftermath of being accused of assaulting her partner. Deep in crisis she was arrested and charged. Christine wants people to know Caroline was not a domestic abuser, with prosecutors initially advising Caroline should be given a caution rather than prosecuted. 

Caroline took her life in February 2020, the day after learning that the court case would go ahead.  

Her immediate legacy was an outpouring of love – and the exhortation to be kind to each other. 

Two months before her death she posted, on Instagram, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” 

A year after Caroline’s death Christine and Jody took part in a documentary, celebrating the star’s life but also exploring the devastating background to her death.  

She said Caroline used to call her every day and added: "She did so many nice things for her family and when you were around her she was so much fun. Something Dermot O'Leary says in the documentary is she had funny bones and that sums it up really well, her facial expressions and the way she'd say things were just fun. 

"But she was just not wired for fame and found it really difficult to let people in.” 

The tragedy of losing Caroline will stay with her family and friends forever but they are determined to honour her memory with a celebration Caroline would have loved.  

Christine said: “My Caroline was never more herself or happier than at a music festival with her sister and her friends. Flackstock is the wonderful idea of those who knew her best and the perfect way to remember her singing, dancing and most of all laughing.  

“Not only is Flackstock the most positive way to honour Carrie, but charities that she loved will benefit from the proceeds. A big thank you to everyone involved for all their hard work – to Natalie for the mad idea, Giles Cooper Entertainment and Englefield House who saved the day, Live Nation and to all the brilliant sponsors.  

“My family are so proud that so many people who knew Carrie loved her so very much.” 

Flackstock is a chance for her loved ones and fans to pay tribute to Caroline’s life and achievements with a sparkling line-up of entertainers at an event filled with kindness. 

As they gather, sing, dance, laugh and share memories in the grounds of an Elizabethan house and estate in Berkshire, they will also be raising money for mental health charities Choose Love, Mind, Samaritans and Charlie Waller Trust – which all held a special place in Caroline’s heart. 

Flackstock: a celebration of Caroline Flack’s life with comedy dance and music is at Englefield, Berkshire, 4-10.30pm, Monday July 25. 

• The Samaritans helpline is available for free support 24-hours a day on 116 123. To find out more about local mental health support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s helpline 0808 196 3494. 

There has been an outpouring of public grief following the tragic death of Caroline Flack. Picture:

- Credit: PA

TV presenter Caroline Flack

- Credit: PA

Caroline's heartbreak

In February 2020, just days after her daughter’s death, Christine shared a heartfelt message Caroline had planned to post on her Instagram page. 

"Carrie sent me this message at the end of January but was told not to post it by advisers but she so wanted to have her little voice heard,” Christine told the EDP. “We want people to read it and want it to be shared through the EDP who we really trust and always have done."  

In the post Caroline described the trauma of a mental health crisis and the arrest and its aftermath.  

“Within 24 hours my whole world and future was swept from under my feet and all the walls that I had taken so long to build around me, collapsed. I am suddenly on a different kind of stage and everyone is watching it happen,” she said. “I have always taken responsibility for what happened that night. Even on the night. But the truth is...it was an accident.” 

Opening up about the effects of fame Caroline wrote: “I've accepted shame and toxic opinions on my life for over 10 years and yet told myself it's all part of my job. No complaining. 

“The problem with brushing things under the carpet is...they are still there and one day someone is going to lift that carpet up and all you are going to feel is shame and embarrassment.” 

“The reason I am talking today is because my family can't take anymore. I've lost my job. My home. My ability to speak. And the truth has been taken out of my hands and used as entertainment. 

“I can't spend every day hidden away being told not to say or speak to anyone. I'm so sorry to my family for what I have brought upon them and for what my friends have had to go through.  I'm not thinking about 'how I'm going to get my career back.' I'm thinking about how I'm going to get mine and my family's life back. I can't say any more than that.”