Old romantic Tom appears on ITV’s Surprise Surprise

PUBLISHED: 14:52 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 14:52 14 July 2015

Tom Harvey was invited to ITV's Surprise Surprise. Picture: BRIAN J RITCHIE (BJR)

Tom Harvey was invited to ITV's Surprise Surprise. Picture: BRIAN J RITCHIE (BJR)


It was certainly a Surprise Surprise for one war veteran when he appeared on a hit ITV show.

Tom Harvey, 90, of Lichfield Terrace, Cranham, was shocked to be told he would be the star of the next episode of Surprise Surprise during what he thought would be a quiet lunch with his granddaughter.

He said: “It was an interesting experience – it felt really surreal seeing myself on the telly!”

Sally Mathie, Tom’s granddaughter, had written to the show asking for help organising the love letters he had exchanged with Violet Harley, his wife of 64 years, while working as a bomb disposal expert during the Second World War.

She said: “I thought it would be a great keepsake for himself and the rest of the family if they were all neatly collected together rather than in a trunk where we store them at the moment.

“They wrote about 1,000 letters so I thought it might be easier if we had a little help.”

As part of the surprise, Tom was invited for lunch at a pub in Orsett by Sally.

It was here that he found out he would be appearing on the show and was treated to a performance by opera singer Alfie Boe, who sung Amazing Grace, the song Tom used to sing to Violet “while she was doing the washing up”.

He said: “We used to go and see lots of musicals together and one of our favourites was Les Miserables so it was a pleasant surprise to meet Alfie.”

Tom and Sally were welcomed into the Surprise Surprise studio where they were greeted by presenter Holly Willoughby.

He said: “She cried a little bit when we were talking to her but she was a very lovely woman.”

Tom was then handed over two leather bound books containing all of the love letters he and Violet had exchanged.

He said: “Sally is my best friend and I am so happy that she went to so much effort for me.

“The books are lovely and I’m happy I get to continue to share my memories with my lovely granddaughter.”

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