Saffron Barker knew AJ Pritchard was quitting Strictly Come Dancing before he made announcement to co-stars

Saffron Barker has revealed she knew AJ Pritchard was quitting Strictly Come Dancing before his shock announcement.

The 19 year old competed on the hit BBC show with AJ, 25, last year — which turned out to be his final series as part of the show.

But while the nation — and his co-stars — were left shocked by the announcement, social media sensation Saffron knew he was stepping down.

Speaking exclusively to OK! online, Saffron said: "I actually knew he was going before he announced it, he had already told me.

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"Obviously when I watch the show this year it's going to be really weird not seeing AJ, that's going to make me so sad but at the same time I'm really, really happy for him.

"He wants to go on and do presenting and stuff, I think he'll be absolutely amazing at that.

"I think whatever he does he'll absolutely smash it and he's always going to be able to dance. I'm sure that he will be able to dance in some way.

"So, honestly I'm just really happy for him and I'm excited to see what his future holds," she continued.

Her comments come after AJ's Strictly co-star Karen Hauer revealed Curtis Pritchard's brother hadn't informed them of his big decision.

When asked if they knew he wasn't planning on returning to the show during and interview on This Morning, 37 year old Karen said: "Absolutely not. It was a real shock to all of us, I had no idea.

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"We're definitely going to miss AJ and Kevin [Clifton]. We have such a wonderful team in Strictly. I'm excited to see what their upcoming projects will be."

Saffron spoke to OK! online ahead of her fundraising initiative #YouTubers4NHSHeroes, which will see her and a number of other popular stars on the social media platform donate profit from their videos to NHS workers.

On Saturday, any money made by Saffron or her friends through advertisements on their YouTube videos will be donated to those working tirelessly to help combat coronavirus.

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She told us: "It's just a thing that I've done by myself with my management and my team and stuff.

"I asked my best friend who's a YouTuber as well, Anastasia Kingsnorth, and I mentioned it her and said, 'is this something you would get involved with?' and straight away she was like, 'oh my goodness, yes, I'm the same as you, I've been trying to think of ways that I can help but I don't know how'."

"I think everyone wants to help but nobody really knew a way, that's who I asked first but since, so many YouTubers have reached out and have wanted to get involved too."

Saffron Barker is encouraging the UK’s YouTube community to donate their advertising income (AdSense) from one video uploaded on Saturday 11th April 2020 aka Super Saturday to NHS Charities Together #YOUTUBERS4NHSHEROES

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