Timmy Mallett is best known for his wacky antics, zany catchphrases and reality TV show appearances.
But yesterday he paid a poignant tribute to his big brother, Martin, who died in Aberdeen on Wednesday morning, aged 64.
And he revealed that a marathon charity cycle event which he has organised from Britain to Spain will now take in an extra stage – from the Granite City.
The former children’s TV presenter, pop star, and actor, who appeared in “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here” in 2008 has recently made several visits to the north east to be with Martin, who was born with Down’s syndrome in 1953.
He spoke of how his sibling’s life had been enriched during more than 30 years at Newton Dee Village, a self-help community outside Aberdeen.
And, although he watched his brother gradually succumb to dementia, the 62-year-old said he was “eternally grateful” for the “wonderful care and attention” which had been offered, both at Newton Dee and at Fairview House care home in Danestone in Aberdeen, where Martin spent the last few months of his life.
Mr Mallett said: “Martin had Down’s syndrome and language difficulties, but it never stopped him engaging with everybody he met and he blossomed and realised his potential by moving to Aberdeen back in 1981.
“Newton Dee took him to their hearts, he became a baker, he joined St Devenick’s Church in Bieldside where he rang the bells and acted as a server, and there was this wonderful warmth between him and people in Aberdeen.
“His mother was frightened when he was born, but he demonstrated that Down’s syndrome is not a curse, and he lit up so many other’s lives.
“He was told he would be lucky to reach his teens or his twenties. Well, 64 is still too short, but it was a life richly lived and, as the doctor at his birth said to our tearful fearful mother: “He’ll bring his own welcome.”
The duo enjoyed a day at Pittodrie just before Christmas, watching Aberdeen take on Rangers. And they shared a few laughs together when they went shopping in Bridge of Don in January.
He added: “It was a disappointing result for the Dons [they lost 2-0], but the welcome we received from the club and the fans was terrific.
“We loved being there together and the half-time macaroni pies were fantastic.
“By the start of 2018, he really wasn’t very well, and not too many people would have been looking forward to making a trip to Tesco in the cold.
“But Martin was in his element and I can’t speak highly enough about the reception that he got wherever he went. Aberdeen and Newton Dee made him sparkle.”
Mr Mallett had originally been set to embark on a 1,250-mile cycling odyssey from Maidenhead to Spain next Monday.
But now he will focus on attending Martin’s funeral at St Devenick’s on Tuesday, prior to starting the six-week journey from Aberdeen along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route to raise awareness of mental health.
He said: “Martin and I often cycled along the Deeside Railway line and so this somehow makes the challenge feel even more special.
“I will be taking him with me every mile of the journey, both in my heart and my memories.”