'It's her ability not her disability that defines her' Hollie Arnold's parents on I'm A Celebrity appearance

Hollie is the first person with a visible physical disability to participate in the reality show Credit: I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here on ITV

The parents of I'm A Celebrity's Hollie Arnold have spoken out about their pride at seeing their daughter on the hit ITV Show.

Hollie is the first person with a visible physical disability to participate in the reality show which is set this year in Abergele's Gwrych Castle.

"It's all very surreal", mum Jill told ITV Wales' Ellie Pitt. "But really amazing. normally we see her competing, so this is very different.

"She's getting close with the campmates now and this is what we need - to see people enjoying themselves".

Dad Graham said watching Hollie on the television every night is a lot more relaxing than what he is used to.

"When she's competing on the world stage, I can feel her heartbeat and the fire in her belly. I'm a lot more relaxed here!"

Hollie has been taking part in the trials and her parents said she was determined not to let her disability hold her back Credit: ITV
  • Who is Hollie Arnold?

Hollie Arnold is a 26-year-old four-time Paralympic javelin champion.

She was born without her left forearm and discovered her javelin talent while taking part in an athletics course as a child.

Arnold was born in Grimsby but is now living and training in Loughborough.

Hollie won gold in the F46 javelin at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Credit: PA

Hollie was the first javelin thrower to hold all four major titles at the same time, winning the Paralympics in 2016, the London World Championships in 2017, and the Berlin European Championships and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in  2018.

She was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to field athletics.

  • What are her Welsh connections?

Although Arnold isn’t Welsh, she’s represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games and has many Welsh connections.

Hollie moved to south Wales at a young age to get the best training and coaching facilities. She studied at Ystrad Mynach College and then went on to train at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

The athlete previously said that Wales was like "a second home" to her after living in the country for over six years.

Hollie’s boyfriend and fellow athlete, Josh Morgan, is also a coach at the Welsh national table tennis team. 

Josh, who lives in Swansea, has also won the Junior Sports Personality of the Year for Wales in the Disability Sports Events awards. 

They narrowly missed out on a plate of Welsh cakes Credit: I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here on ITV
  • What has she said about her disability?

Prior to entering the castle, Hollie said: "I don’t want it to be about my disability. Yes I have a missing arm and I am in the Paralympics but I want to show people nothing stops me and it shouldn’t stop anyone else either.”

She also opened up about her disability during Saturday’s game of tag in the castle courtyard. 

Campmate Vernon Kay asked Hollie about her training, which consists of medicine ball workouts and big atlas weights.

She said: "Me and Vernon had a chat in the courtyard, we spoke about my disability. I’d rather people asked, it’s a part of me, I’m really open about it.”

  • What has she been up to in the I’m a Celebrity castle?

From being doused in fish guts to revealing a secret talent - Hollie has been quite busy during her time at Gwrych castle. 

She took part in the first Castle Coin Challenge alongside Giovanna Fletcher, where the two narrowly missed out on winning a plate of Welsh cakes.

During that challenge, Hollie also revealed her other talent of singing after she sang a rendition of Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’.

During Sunday night's show, she took part in "one of the smelliest and most disgusting" trials, where the girls managed to win 10 out of 12 stars, while being covered in fish guts, offal and slime.

The girls won ten stars in the bushtucker trial Credit: I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here on ITV
  • What does her family have to say about her time in the castle?

Hollie's mother described the experience as "very surreal but really amazing".

She said: "The first five minutes, I was very nervous but then Hollie was just Hollie and that was great. That's all we wanted her to be."

"We didn't want her to put a show on, we just wanted her to be our Hollie that we love and I think everyone will love."

Discussing her disability, she said: "When she was going into 'I'm a Celeb' she said 'Mum - I just don't want anyone to stop me doing any trials. I'll give it my best, I might do things a little differently but I'm going to go for it."

"I think she wanted to show that it's her ability not her disability that defines her."

I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here continues tonight at 9.00pm on ITV.


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