X Factor host Dermot O'Leary, whose parents are from Wexford, has backed the London Irish Centre's Christmas appeal in support of vulnerable members of the Irish community living in the city.

O'Leary, who is an avid supporter of the Wexford hurling team and the Irish soccer team, recently became a patron of the centre and described the Irish community in London as one "very close to my heart."

"It's a big honour for me to be a patron of the London Irish Centre. I'm very proud of my Irish heritage, my parents were part of the post-war generation of immigrants who came to London to find a new life, so the London Irish community is one that is very close to my heart," he said.

"We want and need the Irish community to support this important work for the Irish in most need."

While there is no shortage of success stories of the Irish in London, there are also many who emigrated who find themselves lonely and vulnerable, especially during the Christmas period. Social isolation, mental health problems, addiction, family breakdown and homelessness are among the many issues faced by some emigrants, with older people being particularly vulnerable.

For over 60 years the London Irish Centre, located in the heart of Camden, has offered a safe and warm sanctuary for many of these people and provides a diverse range of community services, cultural programmes, advice services, and outreach activities.

The centre also organises social activities and journeys to Ireland for long-term emigrants, some of whom haven’t been home in decades.