MERLIN Griffiths has revealed he's "doing well" amid his bowel cancer battle.
The First Dates star, 47, underwent a major operation just two months ago and praised the NHS for saving his life.
Merlin describes his First Dates co-stars – including Fred Siriex and Cici Coleman – as "like family".
They've been supporting him over the past six months since his bowel cancer diagnosis.
Three months prior to being fiven the devastating news, Merlin started to get pain in his stomach.
He thought it was because of a car accident that happened when he was 20.
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But after further investigation, doctors went on to discover a 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour.
Merlin says he's "doing well" after the operation to remove the tumour in April.
The TV star is now fully focused on his health going forward – and has teamed up with Harrogate Spring Water to launch Royal Ascot's first ever reduced and no alcohol bar today as part of an initiative to encourage mindful drinking.
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Merlin has concocted an exclusive low-alcohol cocktail for Royal Ascot and will be creating it at the bar for racegoers to enjoy.
Named the ‘Jubilee Spritz’, the mocktail uses Harrogate Sparkling Water, touches of lavender, reminiscent of the rolling Yorkshire countryside, combined with aromatic CleanCo G 0% botanical spirit, complemented by a touch of fresh lemon juice for a refreshing taste.
"Mindful drinking makes a lot of sense," says Merlin.
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"I'm glad to see someone like harrogate is really taking this on board, running with it and getting it out to a wider audience.
"Of course health is important to me and it will remain so for the foreseeable future now, absolutely."
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