How Strictly is heal­ing my fam­ily’s wounds

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Front Page - BY AMY SHARPE and HALINA WATTS

SINGING star Alexandra Burke al­ready feels like a win­ner on Strictly Come Danc­ing – be­cause ap­pear­ing on the show has brought her fam­ily to­gether.

Still reel­ing from the death of their mum six weeks ago, Alex and her four sib­lings are find­ing the dance con­test is help­ing them be­gin to put years of strife be­hind them.

In re­cent times they have been rocked by al­le­ga­tions of drug deal­ing and vi­o­lence – and even saw Alex’s younger brother charged with as­sault­ing mum Melissa.

But as they rally to sup­port the for­mer X Fac­tor win­ner, the singer’s older half-brother Travoir has told how the whole fam­ily has been given a lift by her courage.

Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to the Sun­day Mir­ror, Travoir, 37, said of his fam­ily: “They have some­thing to look for­ward to and not be wor­ried, not think about Mum and start cry­ing again.

“If she wins it will be good. They can say, ‘Mum was watch­ing over her’. She’s happy about go­ing on the show and wants to show the world she can do it – so she’ll do it.”

Mum Melissa Bell, 53, for­mer lead singer of Soul II Soul, died of kid­ney fail­ure on Au­gust 28 – three days af­ter Alex’s 29th birth­day and just weeks be­fore her Strictly de­but.

HEART­FELT

Se­cu­rity guard Travoir said: “I know her mum would have wanted her to go on and do it. You can’t just lock your­self away in a closet.

“You need some­thing to fo­cus on and get over what hap­pened.”

In a heart­felt post on­line, Alexandra wrote: “Mummy has al­ways been my big­gest sup­porter and was over the moon I was do­ing Strictly.

“It was a dream of hers that I would one day be part of the show and I know she would have wanted me to carry on.”

In her first show she wept as she danced a waltz to Melissa’s favourite song, Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Nat­u­ral Woman.

Travoir says he and sib­lings David, She­niece, 32, and Aaron, 24, are all root­ing for the singer to lift the cov­eted Glit­ter­ball Tro­phy.

And he re­vealed dad David, 59, will be cheer­ing his daugh­ter on at the live shows. Travoir, of Sut­ton, Sur­rey, said: “They’ll all be there. I work all the time so can’t get there.

“But I’ll be voting. I won’t be run­ning up a huge bill, but I’ll def­i­nitely put one or two votes in.”

The 2008 XFac­tor champ has al­ready wowed judges and view­ers along­side part­ner Gorka Mar­quez, top­ping the leader­board last week with their siz­zling paso doble.

And new head judge Shirley Bal­las has tipped Alex as “a front

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