Vale of Belvoir schoolboy surprised live on TV by Ant and Dec
Jess Brooke had the difficult task of keeping the surprise from Rupert for a couple of weeks after the programme-makers called her out of the blue.
They had heard about Rupert’s remarkable cycling fundraising efforts inspired by the tragic death of his dad, Tom, four years ago.
The family live at Eaton but Jess decided to stage the surprise at her friend’s home in Stathern so as not to spook him with cables needing to be set up and a production crew hiding upstairs prior to the shock reveal live on the show.
The popular Geordie presenters were surprising worthy viewers live on air and offering them a place at their end of series finale in Florida and after Dec told the peak time TV audience of millions on ITV1, ‘get ready in Leicestershire’ the screen suddenly switched to the lounge of the house in Stathern where Rupert was sitting on the sofa with his mum and friends.
Jess recalled that incredible moment: “It was all a bit surreal.
"It was the only time in his life that I’ve seen him stunned, confused and silent.”
Rupert stared open-mouthed as Dec told the studio audience and TV viewers: “We heard how you very sadly lost your dad at just four-years-old.
"To help other kids who have been through the same thing you started raising money for charity.
"You, sir, are an inspiration. You deserve a place on the plane.”
Jess and Rupert and a friend of his will be jetting to the United States in April when they will get to stay at the Universal Orlando Resort for six nights, visit all the theme parks for free and be in the audience for the final show of the series.
“He’s never been to America before and he’s unbelievably excited,” his mum added.
The family got inundated with messages from people who’d seen Rupert on the show and his friends and teachers at Stathern Primary School were excited to hear all about it today (Monday).
Jess added: “Since Saturday we’ve watched the whole show again and he said ‘mummy, I can’t believe you hugged me on TV in front of millions of people’.
“We were shouting and screaming and we couldn’t actually hear what Ant and Dec were saying on the night but when we watched it back and heard what they said it was really emotional.
We reported last year how Rupert completed his remarkable Paris cycling event shortly after riding up the highest hills in the Vale of Belvoir to raise nearly £10,000 for Dove Cottage Hospice at Stathern.
Rupert, who competes at a high level in cyclo cross and circuit racing is already planning to cycle from London to Barcelona on his 10th birthday.
He was named as joint-winner of the Child/Young Person of Courage category in the Melton Times Best of Melton Awards last year.
"I’m very, very proud of him and his dad would have been too,” added Jess.