Holly Willoughby was left in tears after gifting a football-mad 10-year-old the chance to be a mascot when England take on the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium after he was registered blind.
Manchester United supporter Declan Bitmead lost his sight after being diagnosed with Steven-Johnson syndrome – a severe skin reaction which affects the tongue and eyes and causes the skin of sufferers to shed.
The youngster was on This Morning with his mother ahead of an appearance on This Time Next Year, which airs tonight. The ITV show will see him receive a message from Man U footballer Jesse Lingard as well as enjoying the VIP treatment at Old Trafford.
But This Morning host Phillip Schofield wanted to do one better, telling Declan: “The FA are inviting you to be a mascot for England’s key Euro 2020 qualifying game against the Czech Republic at Wembley on March 22.
“You’re going to walk out with one of the stars of the three lions in front of 90,000 spectators. How does that make you feel?”
Declan was overwhelmed by the gift which left Willoughby in tears. Schofield said: “You’ve taken it really well Declan, and your mum has taken it really well, but I’ll just get a tissue for Holly.”
Wiping tears from her eyes, Willoughby said: “Sorry it was your face when we told you. It was so nice.”
Declan developed Steven-Johnson syndrome after suffering an adverse reaction to Amoxicillin to treat Tonsillitis, aged seven.
He was airlifted to a specialist ICU centre where he spent three weeks and lost 96 per cent of his skin. He was later registered blind.
Declan, who said he wanted to be a professional footballer, now plays blind football. “It’s pretty good,” he said. “As long as I can play football I don’t mind.”
He is on the waiting list for a stem cell transplant which could give him some sight back.
This Time Next Year is on ITV, tonight at 8pm