HONK! HONK! The sound of the horn reverberating across Hedon and the Havenside was the first indication of the arrival of a very special vehicle, carrying very special guests, to the Haven Arms on Sunday.
You would normally expect Andy Graves’ American Dream Truck to be gracing the streets of New York, San Francisco or the highways of the USA, but it was in Hedon for a very special reason yesterday; it was to take two very special 4-year-old boys for lunch at the Haven Arms as part of a surprise day out organised by David Freer of Nice 2 b Nice.
David described what happened:
“As part of my Nice 2 B Nice charity I recently donated to the “Joy For Joel Campaign” and I promised the Wilkinson family on the day that I’d revisit with one of my ‘Surprise Days’ for Joel and another young man McKenzie Magee in the area coping with the same condition, and on Sunday 1st March I did just that!
“Joel diagnosed just before his third birthday and McKenzie awaiting final results both have the terminal and incurable disease, ‘Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy’, a muscle wasting disease which results in muscle degeneration and if researchers don’t find a cure both will lose the use of their legs first and then other muscles thereafter. Eventually, the boys hearts and lungs will fail.
“Totally unaware of what the day had in store both families met me in the car park on Kingswood Retail Park Hull. After introducing myself to the boys I asked if they like to go for a ride, excitedly both replied YES!! Leading them around the corner only to find an American Dream Truck waiting in all its glory with owner and driver Andy Graves ready to meet and greet. Shaking hands and rushing the formalities both lads, myself and family members climbed on board for the first part of today’s treats.
“With a deafening HONK! HONK! we all set off for a V.I.P tour of Hull and surrounding towns and villages, passing through the city centre and much to the amazement of passers-by we honked its horns all the way to our first stop, the Haven Arms in Hedon.
“Arriving to a crowd of people we pulled up at Haven Arms with our very own reserved parking place right outside the pub; with owners Mark, Alison and staff ready to meet and greet both lads we took a moment to entertain the awaiting press before taking a much-needed first half break with Sunday lunch and refreshments.
“Jumping back into the truck with a courtesy HONK to Haven Arms and Hedon we hit the road again for another V.I.P ride, cruising through the nearby villages and back into the city centre before heading towards our final surprise destination, Hollywood Bowl!
“Pulling up outside Hollywood Bowl with the Hull Daily Mail snapping away the lads had their final meet and greet with General Manager, Richard Houghton, staff and ‘Bumper’ the Mascot before enjoying an afternoon of unlimited V.I.P bowling with private lanes, personalised gifts bags and enough fizz and pop to fill an Olympic size swimming pool with staff on hand to cater to all our needs!
“This was VIP treatment ‘Nice 2 b Nice’ style!” – David Freer
“I’d just like to thank a few people for making today happen; firstly Andy Graves from American Dream Trucks not only for providing the amazing truck at a massively reduced cost but I know from a previous surprise day you’ve helped me with that you’re truly an amazing man with a heart of gold, also Mark Hawksworth and Alison Smyth at the Haven Arms in Hedon again for offering your services and hospitality at a reduced cost to the charity, without the generosity on both sides I couldn’t have given the lads the day they’ve had……..THANK YOU!
“Also a massive thanks to Zoe Podmore and all the team at Hollywood Bowl, your continued support towards my charity over the last year is truly amazing, once again and without hesitation your hospitality and service was donated for free and for this I’m truly grateful…….THANK YOU!!
“Last but not least, Ray Duffill from the Hedon Blog and Holderness Gazette and Lucy Leeson at the Hull Daily Mail, you’ve covered lots of the work I’ve done at Nice 2 b Nice and having you guys on site throughout the day made Joel and McKenzie feel like superstars which is what it’s all about ……….. THANK YOU!!”
And we would add… thank you also to David Freer and Nice 2 b Nice for organising this wonderful surprise for Joel Wilkinson, his mum Emma, dad Chris and sister Phoebe, and for McKenzie Magee and his mum Vicky.