A ten-year-old boy with a terminal illness has been granted his wish of a life time – to become a train driver for the day.
When he was born Daniel Bainbridge from Abingdon, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes tumours to grow along nerves. In 2012 he had intense chemotherapy after being diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma.
Daniel’s mother Julia contacted Starlight Children’s Foundation to help grant his wish – who organised a trip to the Bluebell Railway.
A spokeswoman for Starlight said: “Daniel was very excited on the day of his wish and arrived at Bluebell Railway bright and early with his mum, Julia. He was met by Roger Garman, Communications Director at Bluebell Railway, and taken to the front of the train to meet the driver Ian and the fireman Michael.
“Michael invited Daniel up onto the train’s engine for a footplate ride and Ian showed Daniel how to use the train’s controls. In no time Daniel was shunting the train up and down the track full steam ahead!
“He also helped to refill the train with water before its next journey. When Daniel got off the train his clothes were very dirty but he had a big smile on his face!”
Daniel even took a seat in a first class carriage, riding the railway from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead – before being served tea in the Bluebell Cafe.
Roger presented Daniel with a postcard signed by the driver and fireman, giving Julia his own personal green guard’s flag to give to Daniel as a surprise.
Julia said: “Words cannot really describe how grateful we are to Starlight for making Daniel’s wish come true.
“We could never have imagined the generosity and kindness that we have experienced this week.
Words cannot really describe how grateful we are to Starlight for making Daniel’s wish come trueJulia Bainbridge
“Thank you seems very inadequate for everything you have done to make this such a magical time for Daniel.”
Holly Hague, from Starlight Children’s Foundation said the charity was ‘delighted’ to have granted Daniel’s wish of a lifetime.
She said: “The positive focus that a Starlight wish brings really does have a beneficial effect and helps to restore the fun and magic of childhood. We are extremely grateful to Bluebell Railway and their wonderful staff for their assistance in helping make Daniel’s wish come true.”
Roger Garman, Communications Director for Bluebell Railway, said: “Steam railways still captivate the imagination of children and adults alike. The team here at the Bluebell were delighted to be able to make Daniel’s wish to drive a train come true and give him a day to remember.”