Monday 22 July 2019

Ant McPartlin returns to Twitter to send love to terminally ill young girl

The TV presenter made a brief appearance on his joint social media account with Declan Donnelly.

Ant McPartlin returned to Twitter to send a special message (Steve Parsons/PA)
Ant McPartlin returned to Twitter to send a special message (Steve Parsons/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Ant McPartlin has made a rare social media appearance, signing off a tweet with his TV partner Declan Donnelly.

The presenter stepped back from TV commitments and public appearances following a drink-driving charge earlier this year.

The Ant and Dec star has been absent in recent months from his joint Twitter account with Donnelly, who frequently ends his posts with a “D”, but a new message has been signed off by them both as “A&D”.

The tweet, sent to a Twitter account for a terminally ill 10-year-old called Jess Shepherd, read: “Hey @RoarForJess, just a little tweet to send you huge love and a big ROAR!!!

“Big hugs and lots of love from us both. A&D xxx.”

A response from the account said that “this means so much” and that “Jess will love this”.

Jess was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children, seven years ago.

An online campaign called Roar For Jess was launched last year in a bid to raise money to send her to America for treatment.

However, an update on Jess’s Go Fund Me page last month said there is “no more that can be done” for her, and that the funds raised so far will be used to “help her make some magical memories with her brother and sister”.

Ant and Dec had previously been tweeted by a supporter of the campaign, who wrote: “Jess is a beautiful little girl who has bravely fought cancer for 7 of her 10 years, sadly cancer is winning and she is receiving palliative care.

“She has a wish to receive a tweet from you both to cheer her up. It’s such a small wish to grant so please tweet @RoarForJess.”

McPartlin, who was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 after pleading guilty to driving while more than twice the legal limit, is believed to be returning to TV later this year.

ITV’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, spoke about the Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! presenter following the announcement of the company’s latest results, telling ITV News: “We wish Ant well. Clearly, he won’t come back a moment too soon.

“So I mean he will come back when he’s well and when he is ready to come back, and ITV will not be putting him under any pressure to come back unless he’s well and fit enough to come back.”

Asked if McPartlin, 42, would return to the channel, she replied: “As far as I know that is true.”

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