An Edinburgh contestant on the latest series of the Great British Bake Off tragically lost his twin brother in an explosion in Afghanistan where he was serving with the Army in 2013, it has been revealed.
Tom Hetherington, 29, lost identical twin Robert when his armoured vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) less than six weeks into his deployment in Helmand Province four years ago.
Architect Tom – who will make his debut in the Bake Off tent alongside 11 other hopefuls when the hit show returns to screens on Channel Four next Tuesday – reportedly told producers he will not be discussing his brother on screen.
Instead, Mr Hetherington, who lives in Edinburgh with long-term partner David, will speak about how his mum – a home economics teacher – was the one who taught him and his siblings how to bake.
However, a national newspaper found a series of heartfelt messages posted on social media several years ago revealing Tom had run a number of marathons – including those in Edinburgh, London and New York – to raise money for The Royal British Legion and Poppy Scotland in memory of brother Robert, who was aged just 25 at the time.
Posting on a JustGiving page shortly before tackling the Edinburgh Marathon in 2014, he wrote: “With every training session I can hear Robert pushing me to go a little faster, a little harder.
“Completing another marathon will be a testament to the strength I have gained from him and to the strength he used and showed regularly.”
The twins were born in the United States but raised and educated in the Capital, attending Craigmount High School.
Private Hetherington initially enlisted in the Territorial Army in October 2006 after completing a geography degree and was mobilised to join The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, for Operation Herrick 18 in 2013.
The blast, which also killed Fusilier Samuel Flint, 21, and Corporal William Savage, 30, later prompted a review of how bomb threats were reported to troops on the ground after a coroner found opportunities to carry out a high-risk search of the area were missed.
An inquest later ruled the troops were “unlawfully killed on active service”.
A teaser for the first episode of the new series shows Tom hoping to impress new judge Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood with a pear and cardamom cake in the opening challenge.