'This Morning' star Holly Willoughby surprises nine-year-old girl battling cancer

Holly Willoughby surprised a young fan. (ITV)
Holly Willoughby surprised a young fan. (ITV)

This Morning viewers were moved as Holly Willoughby took time out of her summer break and made a surprise appearance to chat to a little girl with cancer.

The presenter and her co-host Phillip Schofield are currently on holiday from the ITV programme and Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes are filling in.

But Willoughby made a special appearance on Thursday to welcome nine-year-old Sophie Fairall, who is battling a rare form of cancer and has just months to live.

Read more: This Morning viewers delighted to welcome back Eamonn and Ruth

Visiting This Morning was on Sophie's bucket list and she had revealed that Willoughby was her favourite on the show.

Langsford told Sophie that although the TV star wasn't there she had left her a gift.

Opening a box in front of her, Sophie took out the tiara that Willoughby wore when she dressed up as a princess for the This Morning Christmas panto.

“She was very sorry she couldn’t be here,” said Langsford, before adding: “But I think it won’t stop her talking to you!”

Sophie looked stunned as Willoughby then appeared on screen and said: “Hello Sophie!

"It’s so so lovely to meet you and I’m so sorry I can’t be there but when I heard you were coming on the show, I was like, ‘Right, I want to be there, I want to see her’ and I wish I could be there, but I’m sending you a big virtual cuddle through the screen.”

Willoughby said she’d been pondering what to give Sophie and decided on the sparkly tiara.

“And you’re a lucky girl because I asked if I could take that home for my daughter and they were like, ‘No, it has to remain here, it’s way too special for you to take home’ so you can have that with our love because I know you like that,” she said.

Sophie Fairall and her parents on 'This Morning'.
Sophie Fairall and her parents on 'This Morning'. (ITV)

Willoughby also presented Sophie with the flask she used when she was Down Under on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

“Don’t worry, I’ve cleaned it out and shook out any spiders and bugs,” she said. “But that is a real bit of memorabilia. "I had that on set with me every day, so that’s my little piece of the jungle to give to you.”

Viewers posted messages on social media saying how touched they were by the moving segment.

“Such an inspirational young girl. My heart melted for her,” one person tweeted.

Sophie Fairall also met Gok Wan. (ITV)
Sophie Fairall also met Gok Wan. (ITV)

“I'm in tears watching Sophie. What an amazing young girl,” said another.

One viewer said the interview was “so special”.

Read more: Eamonn Holmes fears ending up in wheelchair if he loses battle against chronic pain

This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV and ITV Hub.