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When Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo was unveiled as a contestant for Strictly Come Dancing 2020, she revealed she would be competing in memory of her beloved father.
It was just five years ago that she lost her micro-biologist dad Emmanuel on what she has described as “the worst day of my life”.
Her dad had come from Ghana in the 1970s with only £25 in his pocket and first lived in Eltham, south-east London, which in an exclusive chat with Mirror Online Clara described as “notoriously not very welcoming for immigrants.”
Emmanuel moved to Kingston, Surrey, and studied to become a microbiologist. Clara said he had a big love of dancing – and for his little daughter too.
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“He’d always get me a big card on my birthday and write a lot in it that cut me deep. He said, ‘Clara, you are the glue of our family’. That was his way of expressing love.”
On the morning of his death, she was in Paris about to do a half marathon when she had a dreadful feeling something terrible was about to happen.
“That morning I felt compelled to call him. I then looked at my phone and saw all these missed calls from my sister,” she said.
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“In that moment I thought, ‘I bet my dad has died’. I knew I needed to answer the phone but I really didn’t want to.
"I answered and my sister just wailed. Her cry was so visceral and guttural.
“I said ‘Susan, what? what?” I had to hear her say it. She said: ‘Dad has died’, and I screamed. I’ve never had such a deep reaction as I had that day.”
Emmanuel tragically died from a heart attack, and now Clara, who is dancing with professional partner Aljaz Skorjanec, has dedicated her appearance to him.
And when it comes to mastering the art of ballroom dancing, Clara recently said she is thrilled to be "out of her comfort zone".
The popular presenter said: "As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy, so to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace."
Clara admits she has put her career before finding love – and it's definitely paid off with one of the biggest presenting jobs in the country and now a stint on Strictly.
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She isn't currently thought to be dating and when was asked about a possible love interest in an interview back in 2015, Clara had the perfect answer.
The Radio 1 DJ said: "I don’t know. I don’t have a guy and that’s OK. My career is my boyfriend, I’m happy having fun and being 'Cool Auntie Clara' to my nieces and nephews.
"It’s interesting how people don’t ask male presenters how they cope with childcare."
* Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday, November 14 at 7:10pm on BBC One.