Declan Donnelly, one of half of TVs most famous presenting duo Ant and Dec, is this week grieving over the death of his Derry born father Alphonsus Donnelly (Foncey) who lost his battle with lung cancer last Friday.
Dec’s parents, Alphonsus and Anne, left Derry in 1958 to move to Newcastle where they raised their family of seven children.
Dec’s brother, Father Dermott Donnelly, has spent time back in Derry over the last few years.
According to newspaper reports Dec is said to be ‘inconsolable’ over the death of his 78 year old father who nurtured him in his career when he was younger, encouraging him to audition for kids’ programme Byker Grove when he was just 12.
Then he helped nurture his son’s showbiz relationship with Ant McPartlin as the pals broke into the big time.
A source told ‘The Sun’ newspaper yesterday: “Dec is devastated by his father’s death. It has hit him really hard and he is still trying to come to terms with it.
“He and Alphonsus weren’t just son and father, they were great friends. Ant is very upset too because he was also always close to Dec’s dad.”