Carol Vorderman has candidly spoken about her older brother and how he ‘suffered abuse’ over his appearance as a child due to being born with a severe cleft lip.
The former Countdown star, 60, shared her brother Anton’s story in a moving video posted to Instagram on Sunday, where she praised her sibling for overcoming his bullies and making it his mission to help others born with the same condition.
Anton set up the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, which Carol has been a patron of for the last 20 years, and getting emotional, she was seen gushing over how ‘wonderful’ her brother is.
Emotional: Carol Vorderman was seen close to tears in a video she shared to Instagram on Sunday as she praised her brother for overcoming bullies who taunted him for his cleft lip
Raising awareness of the charity and the work that they do, Carol shared a nearly three-minute long video with her followers on social media.
She captioned it: ‘My brother was born with cleft and is WONDERFUL.
‘My brother has helped many babies with cleft who were placed in orphanages and get back with their Mums.’
She began the clip by sharing her brother’s story and said: ‘My brother was born in the 1950s with severe cleft lip and palate and over the course of his life had 24 operations on his face.
Proud: The TV presenter was seen sharing older brother Anton’s story as she revealed how he made it his mission to help babies in Eastern Europe with the same condition (pictured above in 2019)
‘He’s eight to nine years older than me, he didn’t like to go out because of how he looked when we were growing up in Wales.’
Revealing their close bond, Carol explained how her dad ‘abandoned’ her, not her brother or sister, when she was two-weeks old and brother Anton was always there for her.
‘I used to call him “my little daddy” because, long story, our father had abandoned me, he refused to meet me when I was two weeks old. I don’t know why, still to this day,’ she said.
‘My brother used to stay in and we were very poor, he was always kind and yet he suffered a lot of abuse because of how he looked.’
Carol told fans how her brother had overcome his bullies, as she continued: ‘And he grew, and still is, one of the kindest, most generous, most loving, funny, successful people I know.
‘He is wonderful’: Carol was overcome with emotion as she recalled how her brother Anton, who is eight years older than her, refused to go out because of how he looked
Charity work: She explained how Anton set up a charity, the Cleft Lip And Palate Association, for babies born in Romania who are put into an orphanage as their mums struggle to feed them due to their condition (pictured together on GMB in 2019)
‘He’s always laughing, he loves people, people love him. Everybody loves my brother and I suppose the reason I am telling you this… I’ve been a patron of the Cleft Lip and Palate Association for 20 years and it’s not the same in Eastern Europe.’
Helping hand: CLAPA, which Carol has been a patron of for 20 years, teaches mums how to feed their children with a cleft lip or palate properly to prevent them being placed into an orphanage (pictured with Anton in May 2004)
Family: Carol grew up in Wales with big brother Anton, their sister Trixie and their mother Edwina Jean (pictured with Carol and Anton above in 2005)
Highlighting the work her brother’s charity carries out, Carol said: ‘A number of years ago he found that in Romania, Bulgaria, when babies are born with cleft they are often taken from their mothers and put into orphanages for the rest of their little lives.
‘And that was because of how the palate was they couldn’t suck and they couldn’t feed, there’s a special way of feeding babies with severe cleft. So, [my brother] set up a charity to train specialist nurses, who would then train the mothers on how to feed these babies.’
Welling up, an emotional Carol revealed: ‘And in the first two years of his charity, they managed to get over 40 children out of orphanages and back with their mums, which makes me want to cry – because that’s my brother, that’s who he is.’
Summing up her brother Anton, Carol said: ‘He is wonderful.’
The presenter’s celebrity pals were quick to comment on her video, with Steps star H – real name Ian Watkins – posting: ‘Wonderful post xx.’
Melanie Sykes added: ‘Just beautiful xxxx,’ while Claire Sweeney left a series of red heart emojis.
Sweet: Carol described her brother as the ‘kindest, most generous and successful’ person she knows, as she spoke candidly about him on social media
Strong bond: Carol’s mother Jean passed away in 2017 following a three-month battle with terminal cancer (pictured above Jean, Anton and Carol in 2004)
Carol is often seen championing the charity on social media and threw her support behind CLAPA during Cleft Awareness Week in May last year.
She tweeted: ‘My brother Anton was born with a severe cleft lip and palate and he was my everything, he looked after me when I was growing up….he’s had 24 operations in total.
‘And he’s always smiling in spite of the bullying just because of how he looked.’
Carol was inspired to share her family’s story after hearing how British activist Jono Lancaster, 35, was abandoned at birth by his biological parents because of his genetic disorder.
The Love My Face charity founder was born with Treacher Collins syndrome – a ‘rare genetic disorder characterized by distinctive abnormalities of the head and face’, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
After coming across a post shared on Instagram by LadBible that featured Jonathan, Carol said his story was ‘significant’ to her family and how it had struck a chord with her.
Candi: Carol felt compelled to share her brother’s story after hearing how British activist Jonathan Lancaster was abandoned by his biological parents at birth because of his condition
She told fans: ‘I’ve just watched this wonderful man on a post from @ladbible about how he was abandoned by his parents because of how he looked and how his life is so happy now he’s in his thirties.’
‘His story has really struck home here because my brother was born with severe cleft back in the 1950s and I want to tell you about HIM in the next post,’ she added prior to sharing her video detailing Anton’s story.
Carol grew up in Wales with brother Anton, their sister Trixie and mum Jean, who died in 2017, aged 88, following a three-month battle with terminal cancer.
Jean – real name Edwina – had battled three different forms of cancer over the last 12 years, with Carol previously revealing her parent had been treated for skin cancer and kidney cancer, as well as having an ovarian tumour removed.
The duo had a close relationship, with Carol previously revealing it was mum Jean who encouraged her to join Countdown after seeing an advertisement in the paper.
Remembering her mum on Mother’s Day last year during her live radio show, Carol was heard getting all emotional on air as she told listeners: ‘I just want to say, I lost my mum three years ago and she lived with me for over thirty years. And I loved her very much. My heart will be with her tomorrow.
‘I’m going to have to go now because I’m getting all upset. But stay safe most of all, sending love to everyone.’
Positive: Carol revealed that in the first two years of CLAPA launching, over 40 babies were taken out of orphanages and reunited with their mothers
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