AJ PRITCHARD’S grieving family found “huge comfort” as the star was “visited by his late nan” on I’m A Celeb the day after her death.
In an exclusive interview with HOAR, AJ’s girlfriend Abbie Quinnen opened up about the poignant moment a robin was seen in the castle at the weekend.
Robins are widely viewed as a sign that a deceased loved one is close by, and the scene aired on Sunday night – meaning that it actually happened on Saturday, just one day after his nan’s passing.
Earlier this week, the 26-year-old dancer’s brother Curtis announced that their beloved grandma Angela had passed away on Friday [27 November] at the age of 93.
AJ will not be told the sad news until after he has left the ITV show, but 23-year-old Abbie told how the family believe that Angela made her presence at the castle known.
She said: “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.
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.”
And Abbie believes his gran’s ill health has played on AJ’s mind during his time in the castle, sharing: “He’s probably thinking about it.
“I think he’s thinking about everyone; it’s tough because they have got so much time to think, so he’s probably thinking about everything while he is in there.”
AJ will be told about his nan’s passing by his family when he leaves the castle, with there just three more days before the show’s final.
Curtis previously said that they’d discussed before his brother went on I’m A Celeb what to do if the worst happened.
Their grandpa did not wish for AJ to be told while he is on the show, with Curtis adding: “It is following our grandad’s wishes that myself and AJ are to carry on with the current projects we are committed to.
“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.”
He poignantly added that their nan will “guide” the star through the rest of his I’m A Celeb stint, sharing: “AJ has so much more to give to the show and we know that Nanna will be watching and guiding him throughout the final part of his journey on the programme.
“We know we have made the right decision for everyone involved.”
Family has clearly been on AJ’s mind during his I’m A Celeb stint, previously using one of the show’s live trials to wish his dad a happy birthday.
But earlier this week the kind-hearted star was shown giving away two opportunities to receive a message from home to his other campmates.
He, Jordan North, and Giovanna Fletcher ended up being the only contestants to go without.