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Hayley's hell Fair City's Rebecca Grimes opens up about Hayley's horrific mugging scene

Fair City's Hayley, played by Dubliner Rebecca Grimes, is left battered and bruised in a gripping soap storyline, but she is determined to discover who attacked her and will not let him escape unpunished

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Rebecca Grimes says she has managed to stay active throughout the pandemic.

Rebecca Grimes says she has managed to stay active throughout the pandemic.

Rebecca Grimes says she has managed to stay active throughout the pandemic.

Hayley Collins has been through the wars since she first arrived in Carrigstown six years ago, but the normally feisty blonde is left completely broken by her latest battle on the popular RTÉ soap.

Viewers were stunned after Will, played by John Cronin, ambushed Hayley while she was bringing money to the bank in a surprisingly violent scene for Fair City.

The businesswoman is left knocked unconscious and rushed to hospital in a dramatic storyline twist.

In shocking scenes, Will raises a hammer to her to shut her up and it all goes wrong - he never intended for her to be injured, he just really wants the money in her bag.

"John is a very good friend of mine," says Rebecca Grimes, who plays Hayley on the show. "I have known him for years and we would be good pals outside of the show, so it's just so funny to be doing these kinds of scenes with him.

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Actress Rebecca Grimes who portrays Hayley in Fair City.

Actress Rebecca Grimes who portrays Hayley in Fair City.

Actress Rebecca Grimes who portrays Hayley in Fair City.

"He sent me a photo recently. A couple of years ago we had a wedding, a friend of mine got married. He said in his caption, 'do you remember this, Will and Hayley in happier times?'

"If you are walking anywhere late at night, for me as a woman its is second nature to be aware of the dangers and just to have your wits about you.

"This wasn't meant to be an attack scene as such, but he is desperate."

Rebecca explains the background to the vicious mugging which has had Fair City fans gripped.

"Ever since the trial, things haven't been going great for him," she explains. "It was interesting because obviously he got away with the assault charge on Cristiano, and everyone was devastated that it was a real injustice. But things haven't been plain sailing for him and things haven't exactly been working out.

"His money troubles are mounting. He's lost his family, he's lost his partner, he lost his house. He is really at rock bottom and now he's involved with Ger, who has loaned him money.

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"He basically saw an opportunity and I think that's very much in keeping with Will's MO - he is an opportunist.

"He knew that Hayley was transporting an amount of money from McCoy's and he attacked her.

"It went wrong. I don't think he meant it the way it was. I think it was meant to be a snatch and grab, and these things never go as planned and Hayley ended up getting injured."

Will was wearing a balaclava so she clearly doesn't know it his him but he was on the scene very quickly. The actress says her character won't let it go and needs to find out who is behind the assault.

"Hayley doesn't know but she does get a hunch about it," she says.

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Rebecca looking gorgeous.

Rebecca looking gorgeous.

Rebecca looking gorgeous.

"There are a couple of things that start sort of coming back to her, triggering memories and it's all just a little suspicious and she tells Ger she has her suspicions that it was Will."

Hayley discovered last year that Ger, played by Tina Kellegher of The Snapper fame, was her mother, and then was stunned to find that a priest was her biological father.

"A huge bond has formed between them and they have been through so much and there has been so much lies and damage that has been done," Rebecca says of the relationship that has grown between Hayley and Ger.

"I think they are both really willing to make things work and make things good between them.

"This is a nice opportunity to see Hayley in a vulnerable position and Ger in a kind of caring, maternal position. We haven't necessarily seen that dynamic between them.

"It's nice that Hayley needs taking care of and allows Ger to step into that role and Ger is more than happy do so, and form the bond with her daughter.

"Ger is the person she leans on, which is interesting."

Hayley has also had her fair share of men through the years, the latest of which was Superintendent Yates. This ended badly.

"She felt really let down and abandoned by him, where it turned out that he was trying to investigate Ger for her money lending and for her nefarious ways and it turned out that he was duping Hayley," she says.

"There was also the Paul Brennan affair thing. That was on and off, hot and cold thing for a while. Mud always sticks. She hasn't been doing too much home-wrecking lately.

"There was Robbie, too. It has always been older men, which is interesting."

The actor who played Robbie, Karl Shiels, died suddenly two years ago aged 47 leaving the cast and crew devastated.

"It was so sad," she says. "I did a show in the little theatre he used to run. It was my first professional play I did at the age of 17 with Karl. He was a mentor and champion; he was a huge loss."

She cheers when reminded that Hayley also had a little liaison with Dean.

"She had a brief frisson with Dean, a kind of flash in the pan thing," she giggles.

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Will’s robbery goes awry in Fair City when he accidentally injures Hayley.

Will’s robbery goes awry in Fair City when he accidentally injures Hayley.

Will  robs Haley in Fair City.

Will robs Haley in Fair City.

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Will’s robbery goes awry in Fair City when he accidentally injures Hayley.

She ponders for a couple of seconds when asked if she'd like a new romance for Haley.

"I think it's time she gets some real stud," she smirks. " I think she deserves that. I wouldn't mind trying a younger man!"

In her world beyond Fair City, Rebecca shares her home in her native north Co Dublin with boyfriend Paul and their rescue dog, Lola.

"She's a really sweet dog, she lights up our lives," she beams. "Paul is in a completely different business, thankfully, so I have a bit of normality. We have been together quite a while."

Are there any sign of any wedding bells? "You let me know if you hear of anything!" she laughs.

Rebecca adds that she loves keeping fit and was able to keep exercising throughout the lockdowns.

"There's a gym class that I love called 'bike, row ski', which is done in a heated chamber, which is kind of tortuous, but you do be on a high after it," she says.

"I like hiking and I also love sea swimming, like everyone else it seems who took up swimming during the pandemic. I have little booties and little gloves for when it gets particularly cold, from November to March, but no wetsuit. I go with a group of girls."

And while lockdown was initially tough, she has enjoyed a few staycations.

"We have done some lovely stuff," she adds. "We went to Donegal to a remote cottage with the dog for a few days. We went to Parknasilla in Kerry. We went to Galway for the Fleadh, so we've been to a few places.

"When lockdown started it was devastating to not be able to work obviously, but there were people so much more worse off. I was grateful that I got out of it relatively unscathed. Everyone I knew was well and no one got sick.

"The industry is still on its knees, which is really upsetting," continues Rebecca. "We just hope that things might start to get back to normal and begin to thrive once again. That's the big hope."

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