It’s a terribly sad story tinged with a spark of good news and good will as a dying man is allowed to see The Rise of Skywalker before anyone else.

A dying man and his family have been allowed to watch the new Star Wars film before it goes on general release.

Rowans Hospice in Waterlooville, Hampshire, sent out a plea on Twitter asking for an early screening of the movie, which is due out on 20 December.

The hospice said: “This is our most desperate hour. Sadly, time is not on his side for 20th Dec.”

In a statement, the man said the “biggest thank you” after a copy was couriered to the hospice.

On Thursday, Disney chief executive Bob Iger confirmed on Twitter: “On this Thanksgiving, we at @Disney are grateful to be able to share #TheRiseOfSkywalker with a patient and his family @RowansHospice. May the force be with you and with us all!”

The patient’s statement said: “During what is a such a horrible situation to be in, you have helped make some wonderful memories and bring some joy to my family.

“I am a huge Star Wars fan and what I am going through is completely dire – and to top it all I thought I was not going to see the film I have been waiting to see since 1977.

“I still can’t believe it – the only way I can describe it is that I feel like I have won a million pounds.”