Retired practice manager competes in Great British Bake Off final

Retired practice manager Nancy Birtwhistle takes part in the final of BBC1's The Great British Bake Off, which is televised on Wednesday.

Mrs Birtwhistle: ''It is the best thing I've ever done in my life.' Pic: Love Productions

The 60-year-old grandmother-of-eight worked at the Central Surgery, Barton Upon Humber, North Lincolnshire, where she met her GP husband Tim.

Bookmakers have Nancy as 3/1 outsider against 38-year-old favourite and north London builder Richard Burr (star baker five times in nine weeks) and 43-year-old from Greater Manchester Luis Troyano (7/4 dark horse).

'Fancy Nancy' will be remembered for her giving lip to host Paul Hollywood, her use of homemade gadgets, her enchanting Hansel and Gretel magic forest in biscuit week and being crowned first star baker of the series for her Jaffa orange cakes.

She told the Hull Daily Mail of her Bake Off experience: 'It is the best thing I've ever done in my life. It was refreshing being amongst lots of young people and there was a lot of laughter. It is so tense and difficult, but great fun. Everyone involved is brilliant.'

The show, a hit with 10m viewers, airs at 8pm on Wednesday on BBC1. The signature challenge sees the bakers given three hours to prove they have mastered a pastry technique that usually takes a day, a technical challenge without a recipe and a showstopper that turns sponge, caramel, choux pastry and petits four into a winning combination.

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