Kate Garraway received ‘flak’ for laughing on GMB following husband’s death

TV presenter Kate Garraway has said she “got a bit of flak on social media” for laughing on air during her first day back presenting Good Morning Britain following the death of her husband.

The 56-year-old returned to host ITV’s flagship morning show on Thursday, less than a week after the funeral of her husband Derek Draper.

Author and former political adviser Draper fell seriously ill during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, and died last month aged 56 after suffering long-lasting symptoms from coronavirus.

Garraway was speaking on Good Morning Britain (GMB) on Friday about grief alongside co-host Ben Shephard, actor Larry Lamb and bereavement counsellor Claire Collins, ahead of next month’s national day of reflection.

She said: “I got a bit of flak on social media yesterday for laughing with you as though that would imply I didn’t care. But when you (are) laughing, you’re laughing because you want the joy that that person brought to continue… and you know that people watching at home have got troubles in their life and you want to share that joy with them.

“So it’s a licence to laugh and to cry and to be all of those things.”

The first Sunday in March will be marked with a UK-wide day of reflection as people remember all those who died during the pandemic.

March 3 will be the first annual day of reflection since the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration published its final report in September, recommending the event be held each year on the first Sunday of March.

A minute’s silence will be held at midday and charity Marie Curie wants to encourage people to come together to remember and reflect. The first day of reflection was held in 2021 on March 23 – the one-year anniversary of the first lockdown.

Derek Draper funeral
Kate Garraway outside the funeral service of her husband Derek Draper at St Mary the Virgin church in Primrose Hill (Jonathan Brady/PA)

EastEnders and Gavin & Stacey actor Lamb, 76, who lost his brother to cancer in 2019, told GMB: “My brother Wes would have been quite amused if he had known, he sort of slipped away before it all kicked off.

“He was very very brave about it and made sure no-one was feeling bad for him. He wanted you just to have a laugh and joke with him as best he could.

“And it was extraordinary for me to be there with him. We’d had a terrible time beforehand. We had drifted apart but that got us back together. It was lovely.

“I was able to be there with him sitting in his bed. They even rigged up a bed in the corner of the room for me at the Marie Curie hospice and let me sleep in the room with him. We haven’t slept in a room together for like 60 years.”

Lamb recalled how Wes had asked him for a kiss, adding: “And we just became these two little boys. These monkeys who used to play together and we had a kiss – and yeah, it was lovely.

“The thing of all those people who missed the possibility of a moment like that, which is just like one of the most important memories of my life.”

BUILD Series Event – London
Larry Lamb appeared on Good Morning Britain (Ian West/PA)

Garraway said she still feels “very numb” and is only in the first stages of grief.

She explained: “We were talking around this time last year, about the day of reflection and the importance of it. And I mean, obviously, I’m in a different place to talk about it now.

“And I’m very aware of the sensation of grief, although also very aware that actually I’m only at the first stages and there’s so many different stages of it all.

“But particularly aware of how tough it was for those in Covid, who hadn’t got that wrap around, around them or the chance to have a funeral where they could hug loved ones and all of those things.

“Which I think, you know Ben, we talked about at the time, but I especially feel it now. It’s so important to have that chance and this moment.”

Good Morning Britain airs on ITV on weekdays from 6am on ITV1 and ITVX.