WHEN Bolton beautician Helen Wood emerges from the Big Brother house next week, her friends are hoping the experience will have boosted her strength and confidence.
The trio of close pals — Michelle Morton, Bekii Edge and Beth Crompton who also work at Helen’s salon Dolly’s in Chorley Old Road — have been glued to the Channel 5 reality show since it began on June 5.
The 27-year-old was seen clashing with some fellow housemates in the early weeks but has since settled into life in the house.
Mother-of-two Michelle, aged 27, who lives in Heaton, has been friends with Miss Wood since they met at Thornleigh School at the age of 12.
She said: “I’m just hoping that she is going to come out being a stronger Helen and with her confidence back.
“Over the last few years, her confidence has been knocked a lot.
“This time away from everything, she has found the real Helen again, or Helga as we call her.
“Because she has been hurt so many times in the past, she does — in the outside world— surround herself with people she trusts and considers a friend. To be with people she couldn’t trust has been hard adjusting.
“But she has turned it around and has done a full 360.”
Just days after entering the house, the mother-of-one was handed a pass straight to the final exempting her from being nominated for weekly evictions.
Miss Edge, aged 21, who lives in Breightmet, said: “It was the shock on Helen’s face that made it.
“She did not expect that, obviously.
“But it’s not affected the way she’s been, she isn’t playing a game.
“Helen is just Helen. There’s no other side to her. We are proud and we will all be voting for her.”
Miss Morton said: “She is the type of friend, no matter what time it is in the night, you can ring Helen if you’ve got a problem.”
Miss Wood, from Bromley Cross, fell pregnant at the age of 16 with her son, now aged 10.
In 2009, she hit the headlines due to an alleged sex scandal involving another Bolton woman, Jenny Thompson, and Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney.
Miss Morton said: “Helen went on Big Brother because she wanted to show people a different side to her, not just what they have read in the papers.
“She wanted to show a bit more of her personality and get rid of the stigma.”
The trio plan to make the trip down to Hertfordshire to welcome her out of the house with mother-of-one Miss Crompton, aged 28, who lives in Horwich, even planning on cutting her holiday to Tunisia short for the reunion.
The Big Brother final will be screened on Channel 5 at 9pm on Friday, August 15.