Holly Willoughby wears tribute to her mum as she celebrates 40th birthday live on 'This Morning'

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·4-min read

Watch: Holly Willoughby celebrate her 40th birthday on This Morning

Holly Willoughby celebrated her 40th birthday in vintage style – wearing the dress her mother wore on her own 40th birthday.

The This Morning presenter was overwhelmed by a string of surprises from co-host Phillip Schofield and the staff of the ITV show – but said she felt a special connection to her mum by wearing the 80s floral peplum frock, because she won't be able to celebrate with her in person due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Willoughby revealed: "This dress I'm wearing today is the dress my mum wore on her 40th birthday. It's nice and 80s, isn't it?!"

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Showing a photo of her mother wearing the dress on her own 40th birthday, she went on: "I asked her if she still had it and she said it's sitting there in her loft and she sent it."

Read more: Holly Willoughby offers printer to home-schooling mum

"There was a bit of a moment as I was zipping it up when I thought, 'Oh my God! My mum did this on her 40th birthday!', and I can't be with her, obviously, so it's a bit special."

A clip was then shown of Willoughby arriving at the ITV studio earlier that morning in a face mask and padded coat to be greeted by staff lining the corridor to applaud her arrival and sing Happy Birthday – which made her visibly emotional.

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Willoughby was flooded with surprises by the This Morning team. The show began with Celebration by Kool & The Gang playing, which Schofield revealed was No 1 in the US charts on the day Willoughby was born, 40 years ago.

Pyrotechnics then exploded in the studio behind the sofa where she was sitting, and she exclaimed: "Oh my goodness! That is so cool, I've never seen pyros in the studio – how long do they go on for?! I definitely need those in my garden."

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Schofield presented Willoughby with a Colin the Caterpillar chocolate cake that she promptly picked up and took a bite from, saying: "And it's all mine because I can't share it with anyone. Thank you – I'll just have a little bite of his butt!"

A curtain was dropped in the studio to reveal a beach bar with real sand and fashion presenter Gok Wan DJing, while chef James Martin sipped a cocktail dressed in a Hawaiian shirt.

Willoughby exclaimed: "This feels like we could be away! Cheers!"

She whipped off her heels to put her bare feet in the sand, saying: "It feels nice under the toes."

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The TV presenter – who rose to fame on children's TV in the early 00s - was then given a recreation of her second birthday cake, a chocolate house, and then a teasmade and a poster of Paul Young.

Read more: Holly Willoughby moved to tears by nuns who told her: ‘It will all be OK’

Willoughby confessed: "Paul Young was my favourite! Whenever the video of Band Aid was on the telly he'd come on and I'd go, 'That's my boyfriend!'"

Schofield then revealed that 65-year-old Everytime You Go Away singer Young had sent her a birthday message.

Holly Willoughby is 40.

Holly Willoughby is 40. (Getty Images)

Young said in the prerecorded video: "Hi Holly, it's Paul Young here. A little birdie told me it's your birthday and I thought I'd send you a message.

"They also said you were a bit of a fan – you never let that one slip when I've been on the show, always the consummate professional!"

Willoughby was soon wiping away tears as Schofield performed a special poem dedicated to her, calling her "The sister I never had."

Watch: Holly Willoughby's style over the years