peruvian visitors bring children ray of sunshine

A pair of penguins popped into Keech Hospice Care yesterday at the express wish of a terminally ill 10-year-old.

Meeting a real live penguin was top of Logan Matthews’ bucket list and his joy was plain to see.

Logan Matthews with mum Alison (right) and Barbara Marquez of Amazing Animals

Logan Matthews with mum Alison (right) and Barbara Marquez of Amazing Animals

His eyes lit up when Charlie and Smiley – Humboldt penguins from Peru – waddled up to his wheelchair for a closer look, then delightedly clapped 
his hands on his duvet
when they hopped up to say hello.

His mum Alison said: “You can see how happy he is. He absolutely adores penguins. He calls them ‘duck ducks’ and his bedroom is full of them.”

Logan, who suffers from complex epilepsy, has limited sight and Alison thinks his love affair with the comical creatures is because they’re black and white and easy to pick out.

She said: “We spent hours watching them at Sea World in Florida in 2010 but this is much more special, this is specifically for him and he can actually touch them.”

The visit was organised by the Rays of Sunshine charity which grants wishes to children with life-limiting conditions.

The penguins were tracked down by Keech play specialist Jennie Collier
who found them at a company called Amazing Animals.

Logan was critically ill over Christmas and Alison says she and her husband Jon couldn’t have coped without Keech’s care and support.

“They’re like an extended family,” she said. “And they were there 24/7.”

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