So the last few weeks have been some to remember. For those of you who don’t already know, me, my brother and my two sisters surprised my mum and dad on ITV’s Ant and Dec’s Saturday night takeaway. That’s right, we were on national TV.
Basically, my mum and dad had booked to go on a Mediterranean cruise on board P&O’s Britannia over the Easter holidays, which later turned out to be the same ship that the end of series show was being filmed on. So, December last year, Annie and Lucy decided to fill in some forms putting my parents forward for the show, without them knowing. Months later, a few Skype interviews down and hundreds of emails, me and Aaron were being flown back to England ready to board the Britannia ship the same day as my parents.
We were both chauffeured to the airport, met in Melbourne, before being flown to London where we stayed in hotel room each before joining the sisters Sunday morning ready to be driven to Southampton. Once on the ship, we were given Ant and Dec’s suite’s for the week whilst they weren’t on board which were kitted out with Jacuzzi baths, a living room area, and huge balconies, not to mention our own butler, Simon. We were having four course meals delivered to our rooms while we sat watching TV, waiting to do some filming.
The idea of the surprise was that they were going to introduce Annie and Lucy on the video clip first with them spying on my parents, before brining Aaron and me into focus as the final, big surprise. Annie and Lucy did so well, they had to give my parents a massage, shave my dads beard, deliver champagne and hide behind them in the queue. Then, as a four, we all had to star in the theatre show in fancy dress (of course I ended up being dressed as a man), which my parents were watching, unaware of our roles!
On the Saturday night, our parents were led up on stage, shown the footage (of which we hadn’t seen) and were then surprised with our presence on the stairs in front of them. Words cannot describe how I felt at that point in time. Up until then, I had been really excited. Running around in wigs, hiding away from people all week had made everything seem so surreal, but walking out on stage was when it hit. It was so good to be reunited with my family once again, and I’m so glad we were able to give my parents the holiday they deserve.
I was nervous about going home at first. I wondered whether once I was home, I wouldn’t want to leave. I’ve loved my time travelling but at times have got homesick, I mean, Christmas wasn’t easy as I’m sure you already know, but I wouldn’t want to stop travelling. That said, saying goodbye to my family all over again was so hard. Having only seen my parents for not even two hours before I had to get off the ship, it really was heart-breaking not being able to stay with them. There was so much I wanted to talk to them about, ask them so many questions, show them so many pictures, but with the excitement of the show still happening, it wasn’t possible. However, I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with them, no matter how short. Not only was I able to see my close family, I also got the chance to go back home for three days to surprise my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins which was a great feeling. When you’re travelling you get so caught up in what is going in your life it’s hard to keep on top of everything that is happening at home, but having had this chance to see everyone, I’ve been able to catch up in everything I’ve missed. It was incredible seeing everyone again, after an hour it felt as though I had never left which was actually really comforting. It made me realise that no matter where I go, where I end up, my family will be there for me.
The team at ITV were incredible. Without them, none of this would’ve been possible and I cannot thank them all enough. They gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will never forget. I’m so happy to have been able to give this gift to my parents. They work so hard, and deserve so much. I really do love them with all my heart. While it’s not easy being away from them at times, I know that they are there for me no matter what and that is all I need.
I really do feel blessed for the family I have, and for the opportunity we were given. My parents really do deserve the world.