Fern Britton took to Twitter on Wednesday to share a poignant post with her fans. The former This Morning star uploaded a rare family snapshot as she publicly marked what would have been her dad Tony Britton's 97th birthday.
Fern, 63, posted a sweet photograph showing her holding hands with her late dad and wrote: "Happy birthday to my father who would have been 97 today!" She added five red love hearts.
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Tony – who passed away in December 2019 at the age of 95 – was an acclaimed English actor, with credits including the film The Day of the Jackal and TV's Don't Wait Up.
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Fern's fans were quick to pay credit to the late screen star. "Don't wait up was my Nana's favourite TV programme," one told the presenter, "I can remember watching it with her and her always saying how wonderful your dad was xx."
Fern shared a sweet throwback photo in celebration of her late father's birthday
A second wrote: "Ohhh Happy Heavenly Birthday to one of my faves, superb actor and always made me laugh with that dry wit. Happy Birthday Tony!" And a third added: "Oh I loved him in Don't Wait Up with Nigel Havers (always had a crush on Nigel, still do!) What a lovely heartwarming photo, a moment captured forever. Lots of love to you Fern, I can imagine you miss your dad tremendously."
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Fern was one of Tony's two daughters with his first wife, Ruth. The former couple were also parents to Chery Britton. Tony left the family when Fern was a baby and went on to marry Danish sculptor Eva Britton. They welcomed one son together, actor Jasper Britton.
Fern as a baby pictured with her parents
Fern had an especially close relationship with her mum, who sadly also passed away in 2019. At the time of her death, Fern paid a poignant tribute that read: "My Mum. Ruth. Both mother and father to me. Funny, ferocious, and a woman once met, you couldn't forget. 24.1.24 / 17.4.18. So brave and uncomplaining. An army sergeant WW2, beauty queen, teacher, and all woman."
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She previously told the Guardian: "My dad wasn't around when I was a child – it was just me, my mum and my older sister, Cherry.
The TV star had a special bond with her late mother, Ruth
"My mum has always been a very strong person and as a child I absorbed her example of how you can exist on your own. How you don't need a man to validate your life. When I split up from my first husband I wasn't scared to be on my own."
Fern's first husband was TV executive Clive Jones; they were married from 1988 until 1998 and share three children together, twins Jack and Harry and daughter Grace. She tied the knot with celebrity chef Phil Vickery in 2000 and together they have a daughter, Winnie. In January 2020, Fern and Phil announced via social media that they were separating after 20 years of marriage.
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