WHEN four-year-old Ellis Atkinson answered his front door at 10am on Saturday morning, little did he know that this would be the start of a full-day Superhero Adventure for him! Ellis, who lives life with a rare condition Total Chronic Hirschsprung Disease, within a few minutes would start a journey where he would meet real-life heroes as well as the fantasy heroes he loves watching on television.
Nice 2b Nice founder member and Board Member David Freer takes up the story:
With nine operations and well over fifty hospital visits under his belt four-year-old Ellis Atkinson from Inmans, Hedon has had to endure more than his fair share of problems in his short life. However, what surprises everyone that meets him is he continues to smile and make those around him do just the same.
Ellis’ Mum, Sam Lawday and Dad, Mike Lawday tell us about his condition: “Total Chronic Hirschsprung Disease is a really rare condition that affects the bowel, Ellis doesn’t digest food so has to be fed parental nutrition via a central broviac line that is inserted into the main artery which sits in the top of his heart.
“He also suffers with dehydration and hyperglycaemia, he has a stomach and gastro tube for all his medicine and to vent him; Ellis condition is a life limiting condition but with no time span as he could get a infection and we could lose him. Ellis on a daily basis is really poorly with good days and bad, however he never fails to amaze us with his strength and drive and we wouldn’t change him for the world”
Speaking with Sam at a recent awards night; to which Ellis was a finalist for the child of courage award, she said “Ellis is superhero mad and any surprise day based around that would be amazing…” Well, that’s just what we did! After several weeks of planning the day finally arrived to show Ellis just how brave we think he is.
With superheroes always at the back of my mind the day was planned for Ellis to not only meet his favourite characters in Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America and the red Power-Ranger but have a day surrounded by real life heroes, his every day heroes along with heroes of the past and present and of course no surprise day from Nice 2b Nice would be right without a host of super cars and a limo taking us to our secret locations.
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK – Ellis answers the door with a confused yet excited expression on his face and after a short chat popped his coat on and was taken across the road ready to meet his new friends.
The first car to arrive was a Lincoln Limousine however this was no ordinary limo as it was carrying Ellis’s chaperone and real life hero for the day, serving Royal Marine Billy Mackay; introducing himself in full uniform and with a formal handshake it was then Billy that introduced Ellis to the rest of the team.
The next car to arrive was a white Lamborghini Hurricane carrying Ellis’s favourite of all superheroes, Spider-Man, then it was Captain America who arrived in Mercedes GLA45 AMG shortly followed by a red Power-Ranger in a Nissan GT-R and if that wasn’t enough Batman arrived in a TVR Tuscan………Nice!!
With the rest of the team still needing transport it was only right Ellis had a few more super-cars for his convoy so out came a further five, two BMW M3’s, another Nissan GT-R, Porsche 997 Turbo and another TVR, just to show off!!
New friends introduced and cars revving away we all climbed onboard setting off in convoy to our first destination of the day to meet some familiar faces and heroes for Ellis on a daily basis with a visit to his pre-school, Butterflies Day Nursery.
Arriving on site with balloons and banners in the windows and Minion cupcakes Ellis was greeted by all the teachers and staff, Ellis introduced his chaperone and superheroes friends before leading us inside for some fun and games.
Showing us all around his class it wasn’t long before Ellis had all his new superhero friends sat around a table colouring in, having a picnic of cupcakes and playing around in the sand-pit……brilliant!!
Waved off by the teachers and staff we set off once again in convoy for secret location number two, Fort Paull in Paull, ready to meet the heroes of the past with a VIP feel…….
Arriving on site all super cars were invited into the fort with chaperone Billy and Ellis introduced to site manager Gavin and an awaiting WW2 soldier, armed and in full uniform, after a short introduction and more formal handshakes Gavin and his team lead Ellis, along with friends, towards the Blackburn Beverley, a British heavy transport aircraft flown by squadrons of Royal Airforce Transport Command and as a reward for his bravery was given full access to its cockpit and navigation deck, something that doesn’t happen everyday!
After flying the plane with Spider-Man and pressing every switch within touching distance Ellis was taken to the upper decks to see where the Paratroopers dropped before been taken outside for a full tour of the site.
Ellis enjoyed a VIP guided tour of an active radio control room and then enjoyed a walk through the forts tunnels and secret rooms and shown around all the armouries on site…….past heroes done!!
Waved off by Gavin and the staff from Fort Paull once again we set off in convoy to meet the first of two real life heroes, Humberside Fire Brigade.
We arrived at Clough Road fire station to be met by all the firefighters on duty and before we knew it Ellis was sat inside one of the engines with its engine running; bang, bang, the doors closed and with blue lights on and sirens blaring off he went for a ride.
Returning with a big smile Ellis was shown by the crew on site how they would tackle a fire from a ladder at height with a live demonstration and even given the hose to control and wet everyone before been taken inside to warm up.
Whilst inside Ellis was shown around the station, given a tour of its gym and even tried out the fireman’s pole before a prearranged call was made to the station informing them of an emergency at his address, Ellis was then presented with the print out as a reminder of his day.
With a short trip across the road it was time for real life heroes number two with a visit to Humberside Police.
Arriving on site Ellis was greeted by Sgt. Chris Swaby and two uniformed officers who requested his help in finding a notorious burglar, Billy The Burglar, however before his career as an active police officer could begin he needed to be sworn in and the only person that could do that was Chief Inspector Dave Houchin. We were swiftly escorted to his office for the ceremony.
With the formalities done and Ellis presented with his uniform we were taken outside where his new colleagues from the traffic division were waiting, once again without hesitation Ellis jumped into his police car and with blues and two’s blaring he was off again this time looking for that pesky burglar, Billy!!
It didn’t take long before Ellis noticed some suspicious activity in the bike sheds, quickly jumping out of his patrol car Ellis had his man in cuffs and thrown into jail… Top job Ellis!
To congratulate Ellis on his first arrest we were called into the Chief’s office once again however not before a visit from the dog section to meet sniffer dog Mia and have a game of catch and a good belly tickle.
Taken into the Chief Inspector Houchin’s office for the second time Ellis was presented with a certificate of arrest thanking him for taking Billy The Burglar off the streets of Hull…….Well done Ellis you did great!!
For the final time we were waved off before heading in convoy to the final destination of the day, Hollywood Bowl.
Arriving in style and much to the amazement of everyone playing bowls Ellis was greeted by bowling mascot Bumper along with management and staff and presented with a gift bag full of treats courtesy of Hollywood Bowl, waving bye to all his car friends Zoe and staff then led Ellis inside for an afternoon of VIP bowling with private lanes for him and his superhero friends along with an open bar………..a great end to a great day!!!
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that made the day happen, be it actively taking part on the day or as part of the planning process. Be under no illusion what you did today was more than just giving Ellis a one-off-smile you’ve given him memories to look back on which will stand him well for the hard times ahead…….THANK YOU!!
Mum Sam Lawday later give her thanks on the Nice 2b Nice Facebook Page for arranging the wonderful surprise: “Wow what can I say as words don’t seem enough for what you all did for our little boy. It was the most amazing day his has ever had and I’m sure he will keep the memories forever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done. “
“What I would say to anyone following this charity is please support it. Dave and all the team work so hard to make dreams come true but still need your support to make things like this happen. Thank you again from a very overwhelmed mum.”
Thank you’s from the Nice 2b Nice team:
Tony Santos – Limo
Mike Dunn – Lamborghini
Paul Raper – Mercedes
Simon Coates – Porsche
Phil Hird – Nissan GT-R
Ryan Johnson – TVR
Richard Peam – BMW
Mr Jackson – Nissan GT-R
Danny Fairburn – BMW
Alex Lambert – TVR
Billy Mackay – Marine
Corey Campling – Spider-Man
Mark Storr – Captain America
Carl Crowley – Red Ranger
Daryl Toomey – Batman
Richard Kirkham – Photography
Rachel Cliff – Hedon Blog (and Blog Photos)
Kerry Holden – Littletinkers Hull
Lucy Leeson – Hull Daily Mail
Dean Williams – Loan of ranger suit
Teresa Lawson and staff at Butterflies nursery
Gavin Spencer and staff at Fort Paull
Lee sims, firefighter and staff at Humberside Fire Brigade
Laura Gawthorpe, Sgt Chris Swaby, Chief Inspector Dave Houchin and all the crew at Humberside Police
Zoe Podmore and all the staff at Hollywood Bowl
Nice 2b Nice team
Founder & Board Member
Award winning ~ Nice 2b Nice
(Supported by Life for a Kid – Charity number 1136410)
Support Nice 2b Nice by buying a Wrist Band available from the Kings Head, Gail’s Flower shop and Scott’s Barbershop amongst other places.
Photos: Rachel Cliffe and Nice 2b Nice