Venessa Holtham, head of public affairs at Text 100, inadvertently
caused a stir when she visited Cape Town to catch up with an old
On her first day in the city Holtham finished drinks at a five-star
hotel, put her sun glasses on and strolled outside. A stunned Holtham
then bumped into ex-husband Steve Hardwick, former senior adviser to
deputy prime minister John Prescott.
Hardwick was with his mother, his sister, ex-Labour party press officer
Iain Hepplewhite and Tony Sopholclides, a current Prescott adviser.
Holtham and Hardwick managed to have a quite civilised chat but Holtham
thought her ex seemed unusually shifty, which left her wondering what
exactly he was up to in the shadow of Table Mountain. The truth only
dawned on the flight back to Blighty. ’I ran into Dan Hodges, Glenda
Jackson’s son, who’d also been in Cape Town and who’d been a guest at my
wedding to Steve,’ says Holtham.
Hodges spilled the beans and it turned out that Hardwick was in South
Africa to get remarried. Understandable then that Holtham’s presence
should be so unnerving. She assures me that it was a total coincidence.