Dragons’ Den’s Sarah Willingham on exiting show for sake of her family
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Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham has revealed all on why she and her family had opted to drop everything and “make ourselves redundant from our own lives” in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. The TV entrepreneur, who is hosting this year’s Pour Moi Uplifting Women Awards, had been keen on taking part in a third series of the BBC show, but decided to embark on a round the world trip instead.
Taking three years off to travel around the globe with her husband and children was a huge decision – but Sarah is confident she made the right choice.
“It’s by miles the single best thing I’ve ever done in my life… and I have absolutely no regrets,” she told us.
“In a different world I would have stayed [on the show] much longer, it was nothing about Dragons’ Den,” she continued, having spoken fondly of the “life-long friends” she’s made via the show.
“It was just that we had spent two years as a family planning to take the children out of school and travel round the world.
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“We were supposed to do it the year before, but we [had already] put it off for a year so I could do a second series,” she explained.
Despite feeling the urge to sign up again, she admitted: “I just couldn’t do it to my family or to myself if I’m honest.
“We had spent almost two years making ourselves redundant from our lives to be able to do [the trip].”
For the first year, there were no rules imposed on her journey, except that she had to keep travelling in one direction – west.
The route took in at least 20 countries, starting in Canada, where she enjoyed the island of Vancouver – a location where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lived for a period after stepping down from their roles in the Royal Family.
Sarah then travelled all the way down the west coast of the USA towards South America, where she took in Chile, Argentina and Patagonia.
From there, she headed to Australia, south-east Asia and beyond, especially enjoying the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.
When their epic trip drew to a close, Sarah wasn’t keen on going back home – so she didn’t.
“We didn’t really wanna come back so we decided to then go and do a ski season in the Swiss Alps, which was amazing and we all learnt to ski,” she reminisced.
Now back in the UK, she is contemplating the prospect of returning to Dragons’ Den, which she says she’d “love” to do full time.
“If they ever had a dragon back on a permanent basis, for sure, [I’d return],” she enthused.
“I’ve been asked to go back and do a couple of guest slots on a few occasions, but it’s never worked unfortunately with my calendar. I’ve always been away.”
However, she added: “If they wanted me to go back again, I would always go back, it’s been great fun.”
Sarah is now a judge on the Pour Moi Uplifting Women Awards for the second year running – and she hopes that the nation will give some “unsung heroes” a chance to shine.
Having experienced obstacles like sexism on her journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur, she’s keen to support others who may be in a similar situation.
“I do meet a lot of people in my everyday life where I think, ‘Wow, you really don’t know how good you are,'” she declared.
Sarah urged that it takes “just five minutes” to vote and the winners in each category will scoop £5000 in cash, with Pour Moi lingerie vouchers up for grabs for the runners up.
Nominations for the Pour Moi Uplifting Women Awards are open until Wednesday April 5. https://www.pourmoi.co.uk/upliftingwomennominate
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