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Saturday, 28 July, 2001, 05:22 GMT 06:22 UK
Brian wins Big Brother
Brian Dowling
Brian celebrated with his parents
Air steward Brian Dowling has scooped more than four million votes to win the second series of Big Brother and a 70,000 prize.

The 23-year-old from Ireland beat blonde hairdresser Helen Adams in a live final on Friday night and emerged from the house in tears.

"I never expected to get this far," he said. "I'm still coming to terms with winning and it's such a shock."

He said he would spend his prize on taking friends on holiday but was still planning to return to his job at Ryanair next month.

Hundreds of fans cheered the contestants in Bow, east London
"I come from a small village and I do plan to go home but I want to put my feet firmly on the ground first," he said.

"I am Irish, Catholic, gay and I am chuffed that people in Ireland have backed me."

Dressed in a white shirt and jeans, he strolled calmly and slowly out of the house as fireworks erupted in the sky.

Brian's family travelled from their home in Rathangan, Co Kildare, to greet him - a major achievement for his mother Rosie as she was terrified of flying and had never been in a plane before.

He said his lowest points were missing his sister and his mum and dad but he said he was "chuffed" that they were all supporting him.

Clear winner

He polled 4,231,660 votes (58%) out of a total 7,255,094, while 2,680,463 viewers (37%) voted for Helen.

Dean O'Loughlin, from Birmingham, was evicted earlier in the night after receiving 269,489 (4%) of the votes cast.

when host Davina McCall announced Brian had won he jumped in the air shouting: "Oh my God, I'm going home, I'm going home."

Helen was not upset about being dumped by her boyfriend
Brian then hugged and kissed runner-up Helen before she left the Big Brother house barefoot, wearing a sparkling light blue off-the-shoulder dress and carrying her shoes in her hands.

On leaving the house, the 23-year-old hairdresser and dance teacher from Cwmbran in Wales was greeted by fellow housemate Paul Clarke and told him: "You look so different."

When she was told that boyfriend Big G had dumped her, she said: "That's cool by me. I feel fine - whatever mate. It don't bother me."

She said she had feared a possible showdown between Big G and Paul, saying: "I was worried that Paul would have two black eyes."

Paul presented her with a pair of Gucci shoes and a handbag, to which she yelled: "Oh my God - Paul Clarke, I can't believe it!"

Helen said of their relationship: "I am very fond of him but Big Brother will get back to you on that one.

"Paul Clarke is a really nice guy - probably the most genuine, honest guy I've met."

Sparkly stuff

Talking about her future plans she said: "I cannot tell at the moment as I've just stepped out but it's made me realise how much I miss hairdressing and teaching dance."

She said she was looking forward to a cup of tea, a chat with her mum and just getting back to Wales.

Asked why she was so popular, Helen replied: "Is it because I wear sparkly stuff?"

She insisted that she didn't mind losing out to Brian: "I didn't think I was going to get on there and I am not disappointed. It's just like a dancing competition."

The total number of votes cast in the final week of the second series of Big Brother was less than last year's record breaking figure of 7.4 million.

Five pence from each vote cast throughout the series goes to charity - Shelter, Kids Company and Community Self-Build will share 803,980.

In BBC News Online's own poll, Helen received 43.59% of the votes cast and Brian received 43.24%.






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