TV presenter Declan Donelly has welcomed a surprise second baby with wife Ali Astall, which he describes as 'a very welcome ray of light' following the tragic death of his older brother Father Fr Dermott Donnelly.
According to Mirror, Declan Donelly announced on Sunday evening that his wife Ali Astall had given birth to their second child. The famed British TV presenter took to Twitter to share the news and revealed the baby's name to be Jack Anthony Alphonsus. In the sweet snap, Donelly's newborn son was having his little hand wrapped around by one of his father's fingers. He captioned the post:
'Shortly before 10am yesterday, 23.7.2022, Ali and I welcomed the arrival of our son, Jack Anthony Alphonsus, a very welcome ray of light.'
He continued: 'He is wonderful and Isla is beyond excited to be a big sister!'
Fans and co-stars flocked to the comment section to congratulate Declan. Gogglebox host Scarlett Moffatt wrote: 'Congratulations. Delighted for you all love the moffatts xx.'
Celebrity Juice star Fearne Cotton commented: 'Love you guys. So happy for you. Cannot wait to meet little Jack.'
Love Island host Laura Whitmore wrote: 'Delighted for you both! Congrats xx', complete with a red heart emoji.
Jack's arrival came four years after Declan and Ali, who tied the knot in 2015 after years of friendship, gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Isla in 2018. Despite having a high-profile status, Declan had been keeping his wife's pregnancy under wraps for full nine months before breaking the silence on Twitter. Rumors of Ali's second pregnancy sparked in May after the talent manager, who is 3 years Declan's junior, didn't accompany her husband to the BAFTA TV Award show in May.
The baby's name is a tribute to Declan's best friend
Being a famous face on TV, Declan Donelly has hosted a variety of popular shows in his career. However, the presenter is perhaps best known for being part of the TV presenting duo Ant (Ant McPartlin) & Dec. The pair has been best friends for over three decades since 1988, and together they have been a staple on the British TV screen, with notable team-ups in Britain's Got Talent, I'm A Celebrity and Saturday Night Takeaway.
According to The Sun, Donelly's newborn baby's middle name, Anthony, is in fact a sweet tribute to his long-standing friend and presenting partner. Meanwhile, Alphonsus is a tribute to his father Alphonsus Donnelly, who sadly passed away in 2011 after a long battle with cancer.
In 2018, Declan once opened up about how meaningful fatherhood was to him. In Ant & Dec's joint book Once Upon a Tyne, the TV presenter wrote:
'Becoming a dad has completely transformed me. At first, like all expectant parents, I didn't truly understand how much it was going to change me. I felt a love that I didn't realise it was possible to feel. Everything I do, every day, is for my daughter now.'
Jack's birth came after Declan was hit with tragic news
According to Mirror, Jack's arrival came only two weeks after Declan's priest brother, Father Dermott, died peacefully in hospital because of an unknown illness.
Dec confirmed the death on his social media, writing:
'I am heartbroken to tell you that my darling brother Fr Dermott sadly passed away this afternoon. We are all beyond devastated. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they are appreciated.'
His best friend Ant McFarlin also paid tribute to the parish priest:
'Rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten. My thoughts, prayers and love are with your wonderful family. The world has lost a special man. X A.'
A spokesman for the Saturday Night Takeaway host said:
'It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of Fr Dermott Donnelly who died peacefully this afternoon in hospital surrounded by his family and close friends. We ask for the utmost privacy for the Donnelly family at this difficult time.'
Friends and the Donelly family is set to gather in Newcastle next week on Friday 29 to pay respects to Father Donelly, as reported by SkyNews. In addition, priests and clerics across England will also be attending Father Donelly's funeral.
Father Dermott Donelly was a much-respected priest at St Joseph's Church in Stanley, County Durham. He was very close to Declan, and conducted his brother's wedding to Ali Astall in 2015 before high-profile guests and stars, such as Ant McPartlin and Dermot O'Leary. Shortly before his death, the County Durham priest was also invited by ex Prime Minister Boris Johnson to 10 Downing Street to pray for peace in the Russia-Ukraine war.