Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has thanked Whitehaven for his Hunted win.

Although sadly “left on the cutting room floor”, the celebrity chef’s visit to his close friend Gerard Richardson MBE was the ingenious plan behind his win on Sunday’s episode of Celebrity Hunted.

The Channel 4 programme was filmed in aid of Stand Up To Cancer – “a massive experience for a massive cause,” Jean said, describing the show.

The last audiences saw of Jean-Christophe and his hiding-partner, chef Aldo Zilli, was when they had sneaked into an appointment with his son Valentino’s cancer specialist and got away un-caught.

And with the option still on the cards to spend 48 hours in one town at any time, and Jean’s friend of over 15 years Gerard happy to welcome him back whenever, the duo headed for Whitehaven.

Jean-Christophe said: “We could have used our 48 hours staying somewhere anytime, but I knew I wanted to use it for Whitehaven.

“Aldo kept stressing and worrying but I said ‘trust me, I know Gerard and Dianne will help us – we’re Mickey Mouse compared to the people he’s dealt with. Even the Queen knows Gerard!’ I knew that if we reached Whitehaven, we’d be safe.”

While in the town, Jean-Christophe and Aldo surprised Gerard’s wife, stowed away in the Rum Story, and even got the manager of Marina Projects on board, spending a few hours in Simone Morgan’s house.

Gerard’s son Josh later helped the duo get to their final destination, ready to hop in the helicopter and beat the hunters.

Gerard was thrilled to help his friend win his mission, and glad to hear him in high spirits again after his son’s treatment for a stage four neuroblastoma in 2017.

“I helped Jean throughout Valentino’s treatment. It was such a difficult and horrible time for him, so to hear him buzzing with excitement again was just really lovely,” Gerard said.

Jean-Christophe has made it no secret that he loves Whitehaven, visiting previously for food festivals and to work with Lakes College students, and his appreciation for the town has only grown since taking part in Celebrity Hunted.

He is glad he took part, and said “to be a part of Stand Up To Cancer with everything my family has been through was so important and brilliant”... but he isn’t a fan of the hunters. “I still have nightmares about them!” he laughed.