Firefighters pop by to surprise Fireman Sam fan Toby on his third birthday

Toby aged 3 had a visit from the local fire truck on his birthday. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Fireman Sam fan Toby Watkins had a visit from a Gorleston-based fire engine on his birthday

Like most children Toby Watkins loves nothing more than playing with his fire engines and dressing up like his hero - Fireman Sam.

And thanks to his love of the television character and all things fire engine-based Toby has been given a birthday treat he will never forget.

To help celebrate Toby's third birthday the little lad's parents enlisted the help of Fireman Sam's friends at Gorleston Fire Station to make a surprise visit.

Fireman Sam will break out from his busy schedule, and a sell-out performance at the Marina Theatre

Fireman Sam helped Toby Wilkins celebrate his third birthday - Credit: Supplied

On hearing of Toby's love of the fire service and his wish to visit his local fire station, a crew from Gorleston stopped off by Toby's home on University Crescent.

Toby's parents Philip Watkins and Lauren Bellingham made sure he was dressed up as a fireman and standing outside his house as the fire engine, with its emergency lights on, stopped in front of him.

A firefighter hands over the message from Fireman Sam and the Gorleston crew

A firefighter hands over the message from Fireman Sam and the Gorleston crew - Credit: Philip Watkins

In a video captured at the time Toby could be hear exclaiming "Wow" as the fire engine pulled up beside him.

One of the crew then got off and handed a delighted Toby a letter from Fireman Sam himself, with the crew inviting him to visit Gorleston Fire Station.

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The letter said: "We hope you have a wonderful day. We are sorry you are not able to come to the station at the moment because of this annoying virus going around but once it goes away some more we would be happy to for you to come and visit and see the fire station and engines.

Toby Watkins was stunned to see the fire engine arrive, exclaiming "Wow"

Toby Watkins was stunned to see the fire engine arrive, exclaiming "Wow" - Credit: Philip Watkins

"I hope our brief drive past and wave has started your birthday off well.

"Fireman Sam and Gorleston Fire Station."

Mr Watkins, 31 and a window fitter, said: "When Toby wakes up the first thing he does is watch Fireman Sam. He absolutely loves him and has loads of the characters.

Toby aged 3 had a visit from the local fire truck on his birthday. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Toby Watkins had a third birthday he will never forget thanks to Fireman Sam and Gorleston firefighters

"It was a fantastic thing for the firefighters to do. It made his day.

"It will be a memory Toby will never forget. As a dad I cried that day.

"Toby can't wait to visit the firemen.

The Gorleston fire engine heads towards Toby Watkins

The Gorleston fire engine heads towards Toby Watkins - Credit: Philip Watkins

"I just want to thank the Gorleston fire station again for what they did for Toby."

In a Facebook post on the surprise birthday visit Mr Watkins called the Gorleston firefighters "heroes".

Toby Watkins just loves Fireman Sam and had a special birthday surprise from him

Toby Watkins just loves Fireman Sam and had a special birthday surprise from him - Credit: Britanny Woodman

A biography of Fireman Sam

Fireman Sam has been called the "ultimate hero next door".

He has been racing to the rescue for more than 30 years.

Whether stuck on a high cliff-face or caught in an underground cave, the children of Pontypandy, a Welsh village, know help is always close at hand— thanks to the brave and resourceful fireman and his colleagues.

Fireman Sam

Fireman Sam and his friends - Credit: Archant

The television series continues to be top-rated globally, airing in more than 35 languages in 155 countries.

Starting in 1987 the original series finished in 1994 and a new series that expanded the character cast started in 2003.

The original idea came from two ex-firemen from London, Dave Gingell and David Jones, after purchasing a stop motion animation book.

In the original series, all the character voices were performed by John Alderton. 

In 2019 the show was criticised for being sexist by the London Fire Brigade for using the term Fireman.