Sophie Hannah Gradon was a British model, television personality, marketing manager, and the 2009 Miss Great Britain. She gained national recognition after appearing in the second series of the reality show ‘Love Island’ as a contestant in 2016. A native of the city of Newcastle, Gradon attended Dame Allan's School before enrolling at Northumbria University, from where she earned her 2:1 degree in Media, Culture, and Society. In 2008, she obtained the Miss Newcastle title before becoming Miss Great Britain a year later. She subsequently began working as a marketing manager. Gradon was known as a prominent socialite in Newcastle and raised a considerable amount of money for various charities. In 2016, she appeared on national television as a ‘Love Island’ contestant. Having joined the other participants on day 1 of the show, she left the villa on day 39. In June 2018, Gradon was found dead at her parents’ home in Northumberland. She was 32 years old at the time. The authorities later ruled her death to be a case of suicide.
Childhood & Early Life
Sophie Gradon was born on October 25, 1985, in Newcastle, England, to Deborah and Collin Gradon. She had a sister named Charlotte Martin. Gradon studied at Dame Allan's School and earned her GCE Advanced Levels from there. She then went to study at Northumbria University from where she received her 2:1 degree in Media, Culture, and Society.
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In 2008, Sophie Gradon participated in the Miss Newcastle contest, hosted at the Marriot Hotel in Gosforth, and defeated 22 other contestants to win the title. She subsequently took part in the 2009 Miss Great Britain, which was held at London’s Cafe de Paris, and won that title as well. Football legend Paul Gascoigne made the announcement of her victory.
After graduating from Northumbria, she began working as a marketing manager. She promoted the E1 campaign in Newcastle City Centre. She was actively involved with several charities, raising money for them through NCC. In 2011, she reached out to model and playboy Calum Best, son of football great George Best, and asked him to participate in the Great North Run to help them raise money which would go to young cancer patients and their family for their vacation at a sun-kissed resort in Crete, Greece. Calum said yes to the request after learning about her exemplary work for the Sara’s Hope Foundation charity. He accompanied Gradon to the charity’s 2011 annual ball.
As she accumulated more fame, she got the chance to be featured on Sky Sports show ‘Soccer AM’. During her appearance, she wore the colours of her favourite football team, Newcastle United, and got the chance to converse with the show’s hosts, Max Rushden and Helen Chamberlain, as well as footballer Robbie Savage. Gradon later revealed that Savage helped her calm her nerves.
Gradon participated in a skipping race against the then WBO Interim Light Heavyweight boxing champion Nathan Cleverly and sports commentator Chris Kamara. While she was an ace skipper herself, she encountered serious competition from Cleverly, whose training regimen includes regular skipping. She then supported The Journal’s Great North Fitness Revolution campaign, which was set up to battle the region’s rising rate of obesity. In 2014, she drew public attention after advertising for a housemate and being named the “world’s most attractive housemate”.
In 2016, Gradon was selected to join the cast of the second series of ITV2’s dating reality show ‘Love Island’. It aired from May 30, 2016, to 11 July and was narrated by Iain Stirling. Gradon made her debut on the very first episode of the show. During the early stages of the show, she paired up with barman Tom Powell. They were together for the first few weeks before she started a relationship with glamour model Katie Salmon. She not only made history for being one part of the first same-sex couples on the show but also prompted thousands of new fans to tune in. Eventually, Gradon left the ‘Love Island’ villa on day 39.
In 2018, she took part in a talk on social media and its impact on children. In March that year, in an interview with Radio Aire, she candidly spoke about her online experience, revealing that she had been subjected to cyberbullying and trolling.
Family & Personal Life
In 2008, Sophie Gradon was in a relationship with Wayne Lineker, who owns the Linekers Bars and is the brother of former footballer Gary Lineker. In 2013, she went on a few dates with rugby player Danny Cipriani. In 2016, following her appearance on ‘Love Island’, there were reports speculating that she was bi-sexual.
Gradon‘s body was discovered, reportedly by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, at her parents’ home in Ponteland, Northumberland, on June 20, 2018. The authorities later concluded that she had committed suicide. In April 2018, she had revealed in a Twitter post that she had been battling anxiety. According to one of Armstrong’s Facebook posts dated 29 May, the couple was planning to get married. Only a few weeks after Gradon’s death, on July 10, Armstrong was found dead at a property on Furnace Road in Bebside, Blyth.