Shirley Ballas still feels “guilt” about her brother’s suicide.

Shirley Ballas still feels guilty about her brother dying by suicide 20 years ago

Shirley Ballas still feels guilty about her brother dying by suicide 20 years ago

The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judge is doing a Skyathon to raise money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably and to awareness of suicide - which is the leading killer of men under 50 - after her brother Mark Judges took his own life aged 44 in 2003 and admitted to not being “educated”.

The 63-year-old professional dancer told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Twenty years ago, I didn’t see the signs. I wasn’t educated, I didn’t know what to look for, my mother didn’t know what to look for.

“I should have got in my car and gone up with my mother and I should have been there with him. So I have to live with that guilt all the time and I don’t want anyone else to live with that guilt. If I knew then what I know now I think he’d still be alive.”

Shirley labelled her brother as her “protector” and a great source of strength for her.

She said: “He was my friend, my go-to person, my protector.”

The former ‘Taskmaster’ winner has set herself the “target” of raising hundreds of thousands of pounds but believe she “could” hit seven figures with help from her co-stars on the BBC One Latin and ballroom competition like Giovanni Pernice, 32, or maybe the late Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Tindall, 42, and her rugby star husband Mike Tindall, 44.

She said: “My target is £200,000, but I’d like to think we could get to a million.

“Maybe Giovanni [Pernice] might come with me on one challenge – it’s a possibility! I think the Strictly boys and girls will get behind me.”

“I’d love to see Tom Jones – or Mike Tindall or his wife Zara!”

Shirley also confessed that the absence of Len Goodman - who passed away earlier this year aged 78 after being diagnosed with cancer - who she replaced as head judge alongside Anton Du Beke, 56, Craig Revel-Horwood,58, and Motsi Mabuse, 42.

She said: “We miss him dearly.”