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Gogglebox star Pete McGarry fostered over 100 children

Linda and Pete’s son George (middle) welcomed their foster children as his own siblings (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for St Joseph’s Hospice and Haven House Children’s Hospice)

Gogglebox star Pete McGarry fostered more than 100 children since 2000.

The TV favourite died aged 71 after a short illness, and his family have paid tribute to his generous side as he and his wife Linda, who have son George Gilbey together, opened up their home to children in need.

A statement issued on the family’s behalf said: ‘Pete will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family, cast and crew.

‘Our thoughts are with Linda, their children and grandchildren.

‘Since 2000, Pete and Linda have fostered over 100 children and he is a beloved father, husband and grandfather.

‘The family have asked for privacy at this sad time.’

The couple, who first appeared on the hit Channel 4 show in 2013, started fostering children 21 years ago when son George was 15.

They adopted a boy called Chris in 2000, and over the next 16 years they fostered another 68 children.

George Gilbey, centre, with his mother Linda and stepfather Pete McGarry, who are among the fans favourites on cult Channel 4 series Gogglebox. Lying on the sofa, giving his take on the day?s TV in the voice that has seen him dubbed ?Squeaky?, George Gilbey is a favourite with Gogglebox fans.

The trio were beloved by Gogglebox fans (Picture: Jude Edington)

Speaking five years ago, Linda told the Daily Star Sunday: ‘We’ve now fostered 68 children and it’s enhanced our lives so much. It’s very rewarding. I’ve just loved doing it.

‘I always say all you need to be a foster parent is a spare room, a sense of humour and a good heart.

‘I’ve just brought them up as my own. On Mother’s Day I get so many phone calls. They don’t forget you. A lot still regard me and Pete as their parents.’

At the time, she admitted some of them got ‘into trouble’, but revealed how George embraced them as his own siblings.

She added: ‘He’s always classed the other boys as his brothers. He was 15 when we started fostering and he never moaned. He always shared everything.’

Back in December, George revealed Pete and Linda once paid off one of their former foster child’s drug debt in prison.

He himself had ended up behind bars for drink-driving in October 2019 and was jailed for three months, where he ran into the other inmate.

Admitting he feared for the man’s life, George, 35, rang his parents to help pay off the debt for him, explaining: ‘So he took out a debt with whoever was on that wing and they’ve hurt him that bad that his jaw was hanging off his face.

‘This is over a £20 drugs-debt so now I had to get involved. I couldn’t leave that. I said “Listen, stand back mate, I’ll have it in your account tomorrow.”

‘I phoned mum and said “Can you put twenty quid in his account so he can pay this geezer?”

‘I come out the next morning and he took a load more drugs off the bloke because I paid his bill.’

The former Channel 4 star also revealed that his parents sent in boxer shorts for the prisoners after hearing him say that many of them didn’t have money to buy them.

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MORE : Gogglebox star Pete McGarry dies aged 71


MORE : Gogglebox’s Pete and Lynne McGarry ‘settled their foster child’s drug debt’ to ‘save a life’

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