Search

Train mad schoolboy's birthday surprise

PUBLISHED: 18:23 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 July 2010

Joshua's birthday surprise

Joshua's birthday surprise

A train-mad school-boy from Great Yarmouth had the birthday surprise of his life when a local construction company and charity gave him his very own replica locomotive.

A train-mad school-boy from Great Yarmouth had the birthday surprise of his life when a local construction company and charity gave him his very own replica locomotive.

Joshua Hill, 11, has the genetic disorder Angelman Syndrome, which means he cannot speak, struggles to walk and finds school-work difficult.

But he was so overjoyed about receiving a wooden train on his birthday, he reduced grown men to

tears.

It was one of the most heart-warming outcomes of GY Woodstock - a community project that operates through a partnership between local construction company Morgan Ashurst and the mental health charity Mind.

To cut down on rubbish sent to landfill, Morgan Ashurst gives left-over timber to GY Woodstock, where people with mental health problems and volunteers use it to create rustic garden and bespoke items while gaining new skills.

Joshua's grandmother, Jenny Hodgson, saw the site at Caister Road, Yarmouth, and was so impressed, she challenged volunteers to construct a free-standing train for Joshua's eleventh birthday.

It took around 60 hours to build the train - which features a bell and a fold-out table, so that Joshua can eat his dinner inside the cabin.

“We put our hands over his eyes when we took him out to see it,” said Mrs Hodgson. “He could not believe it when we showed him. He loved it to bits.

“Joshua is obsessed with trains. He is very well-known by the people who run the land train on the seafront and even after hours of travelling by train, he signs to me that he wants more.”

The popular youngster's enthusiasm also impressed Kevin Gill, who led the train building for GY Woodstock, as well as volunteer Alan Cutting, who said: “Kevin and I are grown men but we had tears in our eyes.

“It was a classic pull of the heart-strings. This was a real challenge for us, but seeing Joshua's reaction made everything worthwhile.

“All the volunteers, including Mark Slack, Andrea Bell and production supervisor Keith Bradley, knew that this was a job well done. We really appreciate Morgan Ashurst's help. Without them, we could not do this kind of thing.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury