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Truckers rally round ill teenager after truck show dream ruined by coronavirus

Christopher Anderson, who has spina bifida, was going to be the guest of honour at a truck show in June.

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The trucker community has rallied round a lorry-loving teenager with spina bifida after his dreams of attending a truck festival were dashed by coronavirus.

Christopher Anderson, 17, was due to be guest of honour at the Stockyard Charity Truck and Car Show in June with his family thanks to a link-up with Make-A-Wish UK and the Truck Mate UK Facebook community.

But after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the event has been cancelled and Christopher, who also has adrenal insufficiency, must remain indoors at his home in Thornton-Cleveleys near Lancashire as he is considered to be high risk.

 
 

Now truck drivers from around the country are attempting to bring the lorries to him by sending pictures of their vehicles and videos showing what life is like inside the cab.

“He loves it, absolutely loves it,” Christine Anderson, Christopher’s mother, told the PA news agency.

“These are personal messages, guys taking time out of their busy days.

“He’s so made up.”

Christopher first developed his love of trucks on regular drives to and from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, when his parents would encourage him and his twin sister Jess to spot vehicles to help teach them colours, as well as to help pass the time.

“It was a way to keep him occupied, keep him busy but do something fun on the way to what could be either surgery or a long hospital appointment,” said Ms Anderson, 45.

“It was just a bit of fun but it’s gone mad.”

Christopher Anderson and his family
Christopher, second right, and his family still hope to get to the truck show (Make-A-Wish)

Now he is fascinated by all things to do with trucks, even downloading the Eddie Stobart app so he can keep track of the journeys the company’s lorries are making.

He said: “I enjoy recording the ones I see on my frequent long journeys and, more recently, I have become interested in different sizes, types and makes of lorries and how they look and work.”

His planned trip to the truck show in June would have given him his first opportunity to get inside the cab of a lorry, but that is now postponed.

So the members of the Truck Mate UK community have found another way to help.

Truck Mate UK administrator Charlie Karolia said: “After speaking to Make-A-Wish, it became apparent that we could still do something for Christopher, just in a different way.

Christopher and his parents
Christopher’s mother Christine, left, and father Pete, right, encouraged him to count trucks on car journeys to keep him occupied (Make-A-Wish)

“So we urged drivers to film their trucks and talk about their vehicles and their daily routines.”

Christopher is not among the highest risk category for coronavirus, but his family are nonetheless extremely concerned about the effect it could have on him, especially as he uses a ventilator at night.

He is in strict isolation at home now, so videos are helping him get through the days.

“He’s got a focus, he’s got something to think about,” Ms Anderson said. “It’s a distraction.”

And eventually, they do hope to get to the truck show.

“We were really excited because there’s times when we’ve not been able to plan because he ends up unwell or not fit to travel,” Ms Anderson said.

“It will happen. We’ll get back there. We just need to keep him well and keep him home.”

Any lorry drivers keen to send Christopher a video are encouraged to email Grace.Mercer@makeawish.org.uk.