Fergie: How I faced up to hoodies

For a new ITV1 documentary, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson moves into a B&B in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Her mission is to recruit a ‘mums’ army’ to open a local community centre where young and old can mix. Here, Fergie tells us what happened…

Can you tell us why you decided on this venture?

“I feel that a lot of our problems come from a lack of community spirit. Years ago, the village hall was where you went if you needed someone to listen. I want to recreate that type of place.”

You found yourself facing up to some threatening hoodies on a council estate at one point. How was that?

“There was a lot of grunting and f-ing and blinding, but I wasn’t really scared. I prefer it when people don’t recognise me. My aim is to give them some sort of hope – community, compromise and compassion. They are my three Cs.”

The project gets threatened when a gunman shoots out the windows of the building to prevent work going ahead? That must have been disheartening…

“Here we were trying to get people to have a pride in their community – and someone disapproves and shoots at the building. It was outrageous!”

How did doing this documentary affect you? Did you get emotional?

“My most moving moment is when [her helper] Dawn’s 10-year-old son Callum – who refuses to talk to me until he realises I’m OK – runs across a sports field to hug me. You’ll see me on camera choking back the tears.”

The Duchess On the Estate will be shown on Tuesday, August 18 at 9pm on ITV1

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