TV presenter is devastated by loss

Declan Donnelly has spoken of his sadness after his dad died on Friday.

Alphonsus Donnelly, 78, had been battling lung cancer and passed away at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle with his family by his side.

I was with him at the end, with the family,’ says Dec, 35.

I just want to be with them so we can all be together and to support them through this.’

Dec had been making regular trips to visit his dad – who with wife Anne moved the Newcastle from Northern Ireland in the 1958 – while filming new game show Red Or Black with Ant McPartlin.

And it seems Dec, the youngest of 7 children, may have inherited his gift for humour from Alphonsus, who encouraged him to audition for kids’ show Biker Grove when he was just 12.

He was always very happy and cheerful and a hard-working man with a great sense of humour,’ family friend Pauline O’Donnell tells the Daily Mirror.

He was well-known and loved.

He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.’

A spokesperson for Declan Donnelly says: He is understandably devastated.’

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Anna Francis