Monday, 1 November 2010

X Factor 2010: Cher Lloyd suffered 'pikey' taunts at school because of gypsy roots



From rags to riches? Cher Lloyd, pictured here performing on the X Factor on Saturday, started life travelling around in a caravan with her parents

Cher Lloyd's family have revealed she started life on the road as a gypsy - and endured 'pikey' taunts by her cruel classmates at school.

The X Factor star was just four months old when she went to live in a second-hand caravan with parents Diane and Darren.

They lived in a Buccaneer six-berth caravan in lay-bys around Wales, towed around with a battered Ford Transit Mark II pick-up.

Cher was given hand-me-downs by her Romany gypsy aunt Lisa and was branded a 'pikey' at school by her fellow classmates.

It's a far cry from the lifestyle she is living now, where she hoping to make the big time as a pop star.

The 17-year-old hopeful, who is mentored by Cheryl Cole, was praised for her performance on Saturday, which saw her break down after singing the 1992 Shakespears Sister hit Stay.

Humble abode: A Buccaneer caravan similar to the one Cher and her young parents lived in

It was a particularly emotional night for the contestant, who is grieving the recent deaths of her great-grandmother and her uncle Edward, 34.

Safe for another week: Cher leaves the X Factor studios last night

It's the second time the fragile star has broken down on camera after initially losing the plot at the judges houses stages of the contest.

Cher's uncle, Jessy Smith, 37, lifted the lid on her Romany roots, revealing how proud he was of his niece for overcoming the hardship of her early life to make it on to the X Factor.

He told the Mirror 'Cher must be one in a million. You never see a traveller doing well on TV, let alone become a pop star. All you hear about travellers is that they leave litter, go out robbing and start fights.

'From the age of two all she wanted to do was sing. Now she's just the same as any other teenager.'

Cher's family lived the Romany lifestyle for generations with her maternal grandmother Liz, now 56, being born in a wagon.

She raised her eight children in traveller traditions before accepting council accommodation when Cher's mother Diane turned 11.

They went to live in Malvern, Worcestershire, where Diane eventually met Darren and aged 19 gave birth to Cher.

At just four months old she hit the road with her young parents and lived the gypsy lifestyle for a year.

'The caravan had a toilet, shower and gas cooker,' Jessy recalled.
'They set off around Wales, parking at the roadside for a week at a time around Swansea, Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil.

'Darren and Diane were in constant fear of someone throwing a brick through their window or of being stoned by locals who didn't want them there.'

High praise: Cher was given the thumbs by the judges following her rendition of the 1992 song

Jessy said the couple liked to dress Cher in pretty dresses with frills and lace and were given clothes handed down by Diane's sister Lisa.

Jobless landscape gardener Jessy also told how his mother's side of the family sold pegs and scrap metal while Darren did gardening work.

'When it came to Christmas there was just enough to buy Cher a rattle or a teddy bear,' he added.

But after a year on the road Cher and her parents moved back in with her grandmother Liz before later moving into a two-bedroom flat in Malvern, becoming neighbours with Jessy and his wife Hayley.

But despite settling in a house, Cher and family still visited their Romany friends and family members, and attended annual travellers' fairs in Appleby, Cumbria.

As a result Cher was often branded a 'gypo' and a 'pikey' at school, Jessy said.
Speaking of his hopes for his niece on the X Factor, he added: 'We're all rooting for her. If Cher wins I reckon I know the first thing she will do - buy her mum and dad a house of their own.'

Emotional: She broke down after her performance of Shakespears Sister hit Stay and is fragile after the recent deaths of her great-grandmother and uncle Edward

source: dailymail

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