Gordon: ‘It’s a hard thing to talk about, but Matilda, nicknamed Tilly – our youngest – was taking part in a pier-to-pier swim; two and a half miles in rough sea near our Los Angeles home in the summer. It was being filmed as part of her cookery show. She was adamant she wanted to do it with her brother Jack, and she’s a strong swimmer. But an hour passed. No Jack, no Tilly. Then ten minutes later out comes Jack, but still no sign of Tilly. Then an hour and 25 minutes passed and Tilly still hadn’t emerged. Jack dived in and tried to find her. He couldn’t. I couldn’t go in myself as I was on crutches after tearing my Achilles tendon. I felt helpless, so scared. I just looked at my wife Tana and we burst into tears. There was a search-and-rescue team out there in the water. Panic set in. I thought we’d lost Tilly. I thought, “God, what have I done? Why did I let her go?”
‘But suddenly up she bobbed, this little seal with her pink swimming cap falling off, laughing. She’d done the swim and she’d been belly-surfing in the waves. I was so relieved I burst into tears again, and I think it was a huge build-up of emotion. It was everything coming to the surface and spilling out.'
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