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It’s bizarre to me that you can say your leg hurts, but you can’t say, ‘My heart hurts. I feel terrible’

We know Lorraine Pascale as a chef and food writer but, next year, she will publish a self-help book. In the first of a new occasional series, our kindness tsar, David Hamilton, interviews her about how the generous spirit of others helped her through a difficult early life, and how she finally learned self-compassion

Q. Has there been a standout person in your life whose actions or example influenced and inspired who you are today?

A. My foster mother, Marion. I was with her from six weeks old until a year, then my father reappeared and said he wanted me. A month later, she checked to see how I was – and he’d neglected me. I’d lost weight and was not a happy baby. She contacted social services and I went back to her for six months. It was the fact that she didn’t just say, ‘Oh, she’s placed. I’ll leave it’ – she wanted to know that I was OK… Four years ago, I did a programme on fostering for the BBC, and they found Marion. When we met, she couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t stop crying, the cameraman couldn’t stop crying.

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