AJ PRITCHARD paid emotional tribute to his grandma at her funeral after she passed away while he was competing on I’m A Celeb.
The 26-year-old star posed with his younger brother Curtis as they paid their respects yesterday in Stoke-On-Trent.
AJ posed with brother Curtis at their grandma’s funeral [/caption]
AJ posted two photos, with the first showing the brothers looking at a pink flower that 24-year-old Curtis is holding.
The second sees AJ wrap his arm around the Love Island star’s shoulders as they comfort each other after a difficult day.
The former Strictly pro also posted a video of his beloved Nanna dancing as he reflected on their relationship – admitting that she wasn’t aware of his celebrity job.
AJ captioned the moving post: “Nanna RIP. 93 years young…
The star paid loving tribute on Instagram [/caption]
Curtis and AJ comforted one another [/caption]
“Nanna found great pleasure in making everyone feel happy. Whether that be making sure you had a cuppa tea in one hand or making sure you were sat down & warm in the house.
“Whilst I never talked about my job with Nanna ; it always brought me great pleasure that Nanna would describe this person on the television that danced.
“She would go on to say that he looks just like you, sounds like you, he even has the same name as you, & Nanna would read about him in the newspaper all the time. This will always be a treasured memory of mine. ”
He continued: “You can shed tears that she is gone or you can smile because she has lived.
AJ shared special memories with his Nanna [/caption]
“You can remember her & only that she’s gone or you can cherish her memory & let it live on.
“You can cry & close your mind, be empty & turn your back or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love & go on.
“Dear Nana we really miss you, & wish with us, you’d always be, but since God wants you too, I’ll keep your memories alive in me. Love you Xx”.
Curtis announced their Nanna’s death earlier this month – while AJ was still competing on I’m A Celeb.
Curtis announced her passing earlier this month [/caption]
The star said the family had previously discussed what to do if the worst happened while AJ was away, with it their grandfather’s wish he continued with the reality show.
Curtis said at the time: “Grandad said to myself and AJ that it would break his heart for us to stop what we were doing as Nanna had such pride in our work.
“AJ therefore discussed with the family before entering the castle that if something did happen to Nanna whilst he was away, that he wouldn’t want to be told until he left the castle and that in her honour he would complete his commitment to the show, with a view to doing her and the family proud.
“As Grandad and Nanna would have wished for, AJ will stay in the castle and continue making her proud wherever she is watching from.”
AJ was not told the sad news until he left I’m A Celeb [/caption]
AJ’s girlfriend then exclusively told The Sun of the family’s shock when they spotted a robin in the castle just one day after his grandma’s passing.
Robins are traditionally viewed as a sign that a deceased loved one is close by.
She told us: “There was a robin that we saw on Sunday night’s show that went into the camp, they say a robin visits when a loved one passes away so seeing that brought huge, huge comfort to all of the family.”
The campmates were woken up by a tweeting robin on Saturday morning after the first elimination of the series, with Shane Richie the first to point it out before Beverley Callard smiled: “A little robin’s come!”
Abbie added: “The family all feel very comforted that she went to see him.”
The beauty also revealed that she and AJ had visited his grandparents shortly before he went into hiding for I’m A Celeb, with the star seeing his nan as regularly as possible due to her ailing health.
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She told us: “AJ knew his nan was really ill, we found out in lockdown but she hasn’t been hugely well for quite a long time.
“Every time AJ and Curtis go away for a job they always make sure they go and see their nan and grandad just in case anything happens.
“We drove to AJ’s mum and dad about six or seven weeks ago and went round and saw his grandparents.
“He’s been in the castle for three weeks and was in hiding for two weeks before that.”