Train ride a real treat for Joshua

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A Biggleswade train driver has helped make a sick boy’s dream come true.

On Sunday Great Northern gave train-mad Joshua Turpin, who is about to undergo open heart surgery, a cab ride between King’s Cross and Stevenage to round off an amazing weekend in London, as part of the work of charities Max Appeal and Rays of Sunshine.

Train driver Mark Tripp, who works for Great Northern, is a trustee of the Max Appeal.

Joshua, aged 14, was diagnosed at birth with 22q11 deletion syndrome and as a result suffers from learning difficulties, cleft palate, scoliosis, arthritis, as well as a very serious and complex heart condition.

At the end of March he will undergo major open heart surgery, the 21st operation of his life, which has a 50/50 chance of success.

Joshua and his family, including mum, dad and brother Sean, 16, were in London after being granted a wish by the charity Rays of Sunshine, which included visiting Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Covent Garden, Planet Hollywood, as well as a sightseeing tour of London by stretch limo.

Mark is a trustee for Max Appeal, which is a charity which supports a number of families affected by 22q11 deletion syndrome.

Max Appeal is one of the corporate charities supported by Great Northern and when Mark spoke with other members of the company about giving Joshua a ride in a train cab, they were happy to help.

He met the group at London King’s Cross, along with competency development manager John Williams, who issued Joshua with his very own driver’s kit bag before riding the 10:22 service as far as Stevenage.

Joshua and dad, Steve, rode in the driver’s cab. From Stevenage the group returned into King’s Cross and were absolutely delighted to board unit 36533, the service which includes a large advert for Max Appeal on its side.

His mum, Shelly, said: “Thank you to all of you that made it possible. Josh was amazed and so was I – and his dad and brother, Sean.”

Mark added: “One of the greatest pleasures in life is being able to make a difference to someone’s life, particularly those that need a helping hand and this morning the railway family came together to do just that for young Joshua.”

Great Northern’s Community Investment and CSR Manager, Andy Harrowell, added: “We are delighted to support Max Appeal as one of our corporate charities.

“In April, we’ll be holding a Charities Week to raise as much money for them as we can, including trying to cycle 122 miles on two exercise bikes at Blackfriars station, making a donation based 
on our performance during that week and encouraging our teams across the network to get involved in raising funds. ”