A BAKER from Southend who spent four years trying to get on the Great British Bake Off will finally enter the tent next week. 

Database administrator Dana Conway, 25, is one of 12 contestants hoping to impress judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, bag a Hollywood handshake, and ultimately be crowned the winner.

It comes after she fell into a state of shock when she got the call to say she was taking part after having given up hope of making the cut.

Speaking ahead of the programme’s launch next Tuesday, Dana said: “After four years applying, I had pretty much given up, so my expectations were set extremely low.

“I was completely shocked to get the phone call that I had finally made it.

“It was such a surreal moment [seeing the tent for the first time], and something I had been waiting for such a long time and it finally happened.

“I was so excited to just get going and especially because someone else was doing the washing up.

“It was also a plus that my workstation was bigger than my entire kitchen.”

Echo: Contestant - Dana ConwayContestant - Dana Conway (Image: PA)

Dana has always loved the hugely-successful show, but it was series six winner Nadiya Hussain that made the 25-year-old want to follow in her footsteps.

Her passion for baking started at the age of 16 when she discovered a gap in her family’s traditional Indian culinary repertoire.

Now, Dana has a kitchen of her own and has become the family’s go-to celebration cake maker, which she has dubbed as her strength for the show.

However, the database administrator is feeling a little worried about bread week as that is her weakness, “especially in a time frame”.

This series will see This Morning’s Alison Hammond, 48, take on co-presenting duties alongside 50-year-old comedian Noel Fielding.

It comes after fellow comedy star Matt Lucas stepped down last year.

Dana added: “Walking into the tent for the first time, the 16-year-old me was doing flips and of course talking to Alison Hammond; forget about Paul Hollywood, it was all about the queen.”

The Great British Bake Off 2023 starts next Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4.