A schoolboy has returned from Disney World, Florida, where he met his best friend for the first time thanks to television’s Ant and Dec.
Elliott Ready, 8, of Balderton, met Glenn Buratti, of New York, and appeared on a live episode of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
The ITV show, fronted by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, organised Elliott’s trip to Florida so he could meet Glenn.
Both boys have autism and their friendship started after Elliott learnt of Glenn’s birthday heartbreak when none of the children invited attended his party.
Elliott decided he wanted to be Glenn’s friend and after sending pictures and videos to each other progressed to Skyping and telephoning.
Elliott was watching his favourite show, Saturday Night Takeaway, in February with his family when Dec announced he had won a trip to Disney World for the show’s end-of-season finale in April.
Elliott spent four days in Florida with Glenn culminating with a live appearance on the show during which they were interviewed by Scarlett Moffatt.
Elliott’s mother, Alice Ready, said: “From the moment Elliott and Glenn met they became inseparable.
“They were always in and out of each other’s rooms and they had sleepovers every night.
“When they first met they had cameras on them and they became very self-conscious, but once they were left to their own devices, that was it, they were amazing together.”
Alice said Elliott and Glenn looked after each other when they were feeling unwell or upset.
“Elliott is usually a really bad loser but he came off this ride and was so pleased that his best friend, Glenn, had won,” she said.
“That’s the first time I have seen him pleased about someone else winning.”
Alice said it was difficult for Elliott and Glenn to say goodbye and they were looking forward to meeting again.
“They got on so well. There were no fall-outs and there wasn’t a moment where they were getting fed up with each other,” she said.
Elliott and Glenn featured at the beginning of the Saturday Night Takeaway season finale. They were asked about what they had been doing and a picture of them was shown on screen.
Alice said: “Elliott and Glenn got quite a reaction online.”