The family of a five-year-old boy who has spent three years battling two holes in the heart have thanked Tyneside fire crews – after they paid him a birthday visit.
A crew from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have been praised for making the dreams of brave Finley Jackson come true.
The courageous schoolboy was born with two holes in his heart, but his rare condition was not discovered until he was two years old.
He has spent the last three years in and out of hospital and earlier this year suffered a stroke that left him with limited mobility in his hand.
But little Finley has continued to be an inspiration to his family and has not let his condition dampen his dreams of becoming a firefighter.
And now a crew from Byker Community Fire Station have been hailed heroes by Finley’s family – after they brought those dreams closer to reality. They visited him at his home in Walker where they showed him around their appliance and put on their sirens for him.
Finley’s grandmother, Diane has praised fire crews and said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by their friendly and patient nature, saying: ‘Finley loves emergency vehicles, and when he hears the sirens and sees the lights it brings him so much joy.
‘He wants to be a firefighter when he grows up, and actually we had bought him a little firefighter’s outfit for his birthday.
‘When they turned up, his face absolutely lit up. It was incredible to see him so happy after having such a difficult year.’
Station Manager David Linsley of TWFRS, helped arrange the visit and said the Service understands the importance of engaging with their communities. He said: ‘Though we were extra cautious because of Finley being more vulnerable, it was great to be a part of his special day. It was 15 minutes of our time that we knew we could spare and the difference it made was fantastic.
‘The chance to inspire the next generation is not something we often pass up. We get to show all the sides of what firefighters do and a big part of that is embedding yourself in the community.’
TWFRS are currently recruiting for a number of roles across the service and their preregistration for firefighters is available on their website. For more information, go to www.twfire.gov.uk