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Meet Ilford's Great British Bake Off hopeful Henry who grew up next to Valentines Mansion

PUBLISHED: 17:32 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:47 20 August 2019

Henry, 20, grew up near Valentines Mansion and is now hoping to take the Bake Off tent by storm. Picture: Mark Bourdillon

Henry, 20, grew up near Valentines Mansion and is now hoping to take the Bake Off tent by storm. Picture: Mark Bourdillon

Mark Bourdillon/ Channel 4 images must not be altered or manipulated in any way. This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 p

A 20-year-old Ilford lad who grew up just a stone's throw from former Great British Bake Off venue Valentines Mansion has set his sights on baking stardom as a contestant in the show's new series.

Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith. Picture: Mark BourdillonPaul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith. Picture: Mark Bourdillon

That's right. The Great British Bake Off will be returning to our screens on Tuesday, August 27, and this time around, a Durham university student who grew up in Ilford will be donning an apron in the country's most famous tent.

Henry will be one of 13 contestants going bake-to-bake every week in a bid to be crowned champion and says it's something he's wanted to do for years.

Past series of the beloved baking show were filmed at Redbridge's historic Valentines Mansion, the 17th century Grade II listed building in Valentines Park, Ilford.

And patisserie protégé Henry is very familiar with the venue - he grew up practically on top of it!

This year's Great British Bake Off contestants. Picture: Mark BourdillonThis year's Great British Bake Off contestants. Picture: Mark Bourdillon

He revealed: "I have wanted to get into the tent since series two. They filmed it at the end of my road, so I used to see Paul Hollywood when I walked past the tent to go to school in the mornings.

"To be inside the actual tent was totally wonderful.

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"On the first day of filming, I told Paul that I remembered him filming near my house and we had a chat about that and shared our memories of that time.

"So he knew I had come full circle and was now in the tent, and that was pretty special."

And Henry has kept his upcoming appearance on GBBO awfully quiet, so he's getting ready to surprise an awful lot of his friends and family.

"There are lots of people in the choir at university who knew that I applied but don't know that I got on," he added.

This year's hopefuls showcase a younger demographic than most.

"It's been the hardest year judging, personally, for me, because it was all about detail," admits Mr Hollywood, who has been a staple of the show since its 2010 inception.

"You judge them in your head and mark them one to 10, and then in the next round they all do the opposite!

"Then you have to sit around the table and decide who's going to be star baker and who's going to go.

"You have absolutely no idea, it could be any one of them!"

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