Great Western Railway helps to make Jack’s wish come true

Posted on 13th Nov 2019

A 12-year-old boy from Gateshead has ridden in the driver’s cab of an express train thanks to the children’s charity Make-A-Wish® UK and train operator Great Western Railway.

Brave Jack Thompson, who was born with a brain tumour and is registered blind, became ‘Station Master’ for the day at London Paddington - offering a five-star service to customers and examining tickets.

He also made a station announcement, dispatched a train from the station and took a ride in the driver’s cab of an Intercity Express Train.

Jack said: “I’ve had the most amazing day. I loved my ride on the train and being shown inside the driver’s cab. I can’t believe how fast it felt being on an Intercity Express Train. That was great fun.

“I love trains and often ask my mum and dad to take me to the station so I can listen to the trains coming in and out. I also like playing Train Sim World on my PlayStation and driving the Great Western Express to Reading.”

GWR Customer Ambassador Jennie Williams, who gave Jack a tour of the station, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Jack and wonderful to see his enthusiasm for trains. It was lovely to be able to make it a special day for him.”

Jack was born with an optic nerve tumour the size of a golf ball which means he can see shapes and colours in the distance and read signs close-up. Seven rounds of chemotherapy have reduced the tumour to the size of a pea and growth hormone injections have enabled him to grow to the average height of a 12-year-old.

His Mum Diane said: “Unfortunately, his vision won’t improve – the nerves in his eyes are damaged beyond repair. He sees an ophthalmologist every four weeks to make sure his sight doesn’t get any worse.”

Make-A-Wish said it was grateful to GWR for helping to give Jack such a memorable day.

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Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year – across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.

Media contact

Simon Henry
Make-A-Wish UK Communications
[email protected]
07786 650922
Make-A-Wish UK, 7th Floor, Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading, RG1 1LX

For images or video footage to support this story, please contact [email protected]

About Make-A-Wish UK

Every day, the lives of 10 families in the UK are changed forever when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness. From that moment, childhood takes a backseat to medical appointments and worry. A wish helps to restore that childhood and puts worry on the backseat. It provides an opportunity to choose something positive to look forward to and the chance to be a child first and a patient second.

Make-A-Wish UK is a registered charity that was established in the UK in 1986 to support children and young people diagnosed with a serious illness or life-limiting condition, by granting them their dearest wish. The charity receives no Government funding - registered charity numbers: 295672 in England and Wales, SC037479 in Scotland.

Notes to editors

We do not use the phrase ‘terminally ill’ and ask that you follow suit because some poorly children and young people are not made aware of the exact nature of their diagnosis and we respect their family’s approach to their situation. Some also recover fully from their illness.

Please refer to us as Make-A-Wish® UK in the first instance to distinguish us from affiliates in other countries. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ is suitable.

Please hyperlink to our website ( when you mention Make-A-Wish online.

You can also find us on social media @makeawishuk