The grandfather of The Late Late Toy Show sensation Sophia Maher has described the eight-year-old as an “inspirational joy” following her appearance on the show last Friday.

Sophia touched the nation when she spoke to host Ryan Turbridy about her experience with bullies, revealing that they “kick me, call me weirdo, they slag my hair”.

But she added: “Life would suck if everybody was the same.

“They’re all at home watching me on the telly – so who’s the weirdo now?”

Each child on the Toy Show is only allowed to bring one guest with them into the studio, and Sophia brought her grandad Richie.

“I look up to her, she’s an inspirational joy to me,” he said.

“The way she held herself on the show, I couldn’t believe it. I was in the back of the studio crying… She struck a real chord with everyone watching at home and I’m so proud of her,” he added.

“Grandad was very proud of me and I would love to be on the telly again,” said Sophia.

According to her mother, Robyn Maher, Sophia felt it was important to highlight her experience with bullying. “We were nervous about what she was going to say, and I said, ‘Come on, we’ll practise what you’re going to say on the show’. But Sophia said, ‘No, I know what I’m going to say’.”

“I wanted them to know they hurt my feelings,” Sophia said.

“I was very excited going onto the show but I was kind of scared as well. But I got relaxed as it went on. I watch the show every year and the toys are my favourite part.”

Mum Robyn and her partner Luke O’Brien said Sophia was a “little warrior”.

“Sophia tries to laugh the bullying off but when she comes home, she breaks down to me,” said Robyn.

The family have been overwhelmed with the amount of positive comments Sophia has received online since her Toy Show appearance.

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