Reality TV star Scarlett Moffatt said she wished everyone could be a “bit more Himba” – the African tribe she and her family filmed with for her new show.
She was speaking at a celebration of the National Lottery’s 25th anniversary which saw more than 1,000 people gather in Gateshead to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest cream tea party ever held.
Guests came from across the UK to sip tea and eat jam and cream-laden scones, with the aim of championing initiatives that bring people together.
Many of those who came were involved in community organisations, including a busload of Glaswegian pensioners, local school children and charities, as well as members of the Armed Forces.
The Gogglebox star hosted the event and spoke to many of the guests and heard for herself how the National Lottery had funded good causes which changed lives.
Her Channel 4 documentary The British Tribe Next Door showed the Moffatts, from County Durham, living in a replica of their house among Himba people in Namibia.
After the record attempt, she told the PA news agency: “I wish that everyone was a little bit more Himba.
“People who have watched the show will understand that everyone works together, supports each other and it’s not just your immediate family, it is your village, as a community.
“Speaking to everyone today, that’s what I got – it warms the soul.
“It’s so heartwarming to see so many people come together and help each other out.
“Everyone should be like that.”
While some critics have slammed the reality show, Scarlett said the public’s reaction since it aired has been positive.
She said: “Honestly, the support that me and my family have got has been amazing.
“Reading people’s tweets – Twitter can sometimes be a very negative place – not very often do people actually put positive things, but the response has been amazing, even people coming up today and talking about it.
“I am pleased people loved it, it just makes me really happy.”
Speaking about the cream tea event, she added: “Everyone here today has a story to tell about the amazing things they and others are doing in their communities with the help of National Lottery funding, and it was an honour to be part of it.”
She was given tips from etiquette expert William Hanson in the correct way to pour, hold and stir a cup of tea.
Guest Betty McDonald, 82, from The Senior Centre, Castlemilk, Glasgow, said: “Over 50 people from my community group came with me here today and we had a whale of a time.
“We’re sad to be getting back on the coach to go home.”
The Senior Centre has received over £245,000 of lottery funding, and offers meals and exercise classes.
Dawn Austwick, CEO of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted that people have joined us from across the UK to celebrate by sitting down together, talking and making friends over a cup of tea and a scone.
“It’s a simple act, but it can make a real difference to people’s lives.”