Simon Thomas meets the kind stranger who wrote him his own snack notes

The former Blue Peter presenter and his son Ethan met Dan Ritchie and his family over the weekend

Hanna Fillingham

Simon Thomas was overwhelmed after a man called Dan Ritchie wrote him a daily note for every day of the year after hearing of the death of his wife Gemma. Having been moved by Simon's story, Dan wanted to help him get through each day, and took inspiration from Simon's snack notes to his eight-year-old son Ethan, which he regularly posts photos of on his Instagram account. Over the weekend, Dan and his family invited Simon and Ethan to stay at their home, knowing that it would be particularly difficult for the pair spending their first Mother's Day without Gemma.

Simon Thomas' son Ethan was celebrated on Mother's Day

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To make sure that Ethan felt special on the day, the family had touchingly made the Sunday 'Ethan's Day', complete with gifts and cards for the little boy. Simon told his Instagram followers about the family's generosity, sharing a picture of a smiling Ethan surrounded by presents and a sign reading 'Happy Ethan's Day'. "Despite a sleepless night of sickness and the other stuff coming out Ethan’s able to smile on this hardest of days. Dan Ritchie and his family have been unbelievably generous and loving. We hadn’t met them 48hrs ago - we already feel like we’ve known them years. They and our lovely friends have been so kind and helped make this #ethansday," he wrote besides the photo.

Simon shared a photo of kind stranger Dan Ritchie and his family

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During the weekend, Ethan even had the chance to ride a tractor on Dan's farm. It looked like he had a wonderful time as he sat in a trailer behind the wheels with Dan's children. "It made a difficult Mother's Day one to remember," Simon told his followers. Fans were quick to comment on the heartwarming clip, with one writing: "That gave me a warm glow, I know how hard Mother’s Day for me is without my beautiful mum so cannot even begin to imagine how Ethan felt. God bless you both xxx," while another said: "How lovely for you and Ethan. Those wonderful people made an already tough day into a slightly easier one for you both. A little kindness goes a long way i really do believe."

Ethan enjoyed a tractor ride during his weekend with Dan Ritchie

Simon introduced his loyal social media followers to Dan in January after he received the snack notes from him. He said: "A guy called Dan Ritchie, who I have yet to meet (but I will) had seen my notes for Ethan and felt like I needed some too, to encourage me and help me keep going when I feel like giving up. So he's written me a daily note too – for every single day of the coming year! That's #lightinthedarkness right there." Simon also shared a picture of the bundles of notes – including the message for the day, which read: "Know that all of heaven is cheering you on today, Simon."

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