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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Kyle O'Sullivan

David Walliams' secret connection to BGT semi-finalist Dante Marvin that led to book

Dante Marvin was already very well acquainted with one Britain's Got Talent judge before his audition.

The inspiring 13-year-old schoolboy, from Liverpool, lit up the stage with his hilarious comedy song about his brittle bone disease, which also included a string of cheeky digs at the judges.

Dante, who won the Child of Courage award at The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Award in 2019, sang: "I am just 13-years-old. I've broken 97 bones. The hospital's my second home.

"But I just want to say - don't feel sorry for me because I feel sorry for you. I get to go on the rides in Disneyland, whilst you're still in the queue.

"I've been in Buckingham Palace, I've rode up and down. The closest you'll get is watching The Crown. Whilst you're waiting for your train in the cold and damp, I'll be getting in first with my cute little ramp."

The talented youngster, who is performing in tonight's second BGT semi-final, poked fun at Simon Cowell's 'new face' and the number of candles on his birthday cake.

Dante Marvin will be performing in tonight's BGT semi-final (Matt Frost)

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Asking why he got so much stick, Simon said: "You are very naughty. It was just a great audition. A great audition is one you're going to remember and I'm going to remember this."

David Walliams then revealed his personal connection to Dante, saying: "Me and Dante know each other. We've met a few times."

When the comedian explained that Dante asked him to write a book about a boy in a wheelchair and he dedicated it to the schoolboy, Simon replied: "Is that why you didn'y insult him?"

Dante's vision was brought to life in 2020 in his book Slime, which follows the adventures of a young boy in a wheelchair.

Along with an illustration of Dante, the first page of the book displayed the dedication: "For Dante, the coolest kid on wheels."

At the time, Dante said: "I can’t believe David wrote a book for me! I’m so excited to finally see someone like me starring in one of his books. I always say there are no disabilities only abilities and now other children will see that too when they read Slime."

The Little Britain star also sent his new friend a copy of the book with the message: "Dearest Dante. You are a superstar! Thanks so much for inspiring this book. Much love, David Walliams x."

David dedicated his book Slime to Dante (Internet Unknown)

Dante has endured much more than most, having had 16 broken bones in his mum Rachael’s womb and was born with brittle bone disease and scoliosis.

He has broken nearly 100 bones in his life, with as little as a sneeze or high-five injuring him, and has endured 17 separate operations to insert rods in his limbs.

Speaking in 2019, mum Rachael told The Mirror: "I don’t stop Dante doing anything – he just gets on with it.

"He hates seeing other children sad. If I take him to hospital he is more bothered about the child in the bed opposite who is crying and tries to reassure them. I am so proud of him."

Dante has worked hard to spread happiness to others through his work as an ambassador for children’s charity Variety, despite his own debilitating illness.

For all his hard work raising fund and awareness, Dante was chosen to receive the Child of COurage Award at The Pride Of Britain Award's in 2019.

But just telling him would be no fun, so the organisers got Coronation Street actor Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt, to suprise him in a costume.

Dante got a surprise from Corrie's Jack P. Shepherd (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

However, Corrie superfan Dante was too sharp and told his mum that the person behind the outfit "sounds like Jack P. Shepherd".

After the big reveal, Dante said: "I don’t have the words to describe how much I love David Platt. He has the same personality as me – kooky. I was so shocked to see Jack I had to go away and have a little cry."

Jack gave him a tour of the Coronation Street set and Dante pointed out all the spots where his favourite scenes had happened.

On the big night itself, Dante's sparkling personality won over the celebrity audience by telling them his motto: "There are no disabilities, just abilities."

He shouted "what’s up, London?" as he went on stage, where he sang with pop star Anne Marie and danced with Diversity’s Ashley Banjo.

Presenting his Child of Courage award, Jason Manford asked if he’d like to be a comedian – and Dante told him he never stops laughing.

"I don’t stop Dante from doing anything – he just gets on with it," explained his mum with pride. "He hates seeing other children being sad.

Dante danced on stage with Ashley Banjo (Daily Mirror)

"If I take him to hospital with a broken bone he is more bothered about the child in the bed opposite.

"He has got a high pain threshold and always defies what the doctors tell him. If they say he is going to be in hospital for a week, he makes it his mission to be home in a few days.

"Now he knows he is helping other disabled children. I am so proud."

The following day, Dante appeared on ITV's Lorraine and told the Scottish presenter he was "proud and honoured" to have his award.

Rachael said that everyone was scared to touch and hold him at first because they were worried about hurting him.

"Even if you wrap me in cotton woll I'll still break so you might as well not waste the cotton wool," joked Dante.

Now he is hoping to reach the finals of Britain's Got Talent with what will no doubt be another hilarious and heartwarming routine.

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