Special train ride at Luton Airport Parkway for young carer Clem

Mark and Clem. When Clem grows up he would like to be a train driver.
Mark and Clem. When Clem grows up he would like to be a train driver.

A young Luton carer was given the surprise of a lifetime, as he was treated to a day dedicated to his favourite hobby - trains!

Clem Garrand, 11, of Weatherfield Academy, was recently surprised with a visit to Luton Airport Parkway to celebrate his birthday, after his Auntie Helen got in touch with Govia Thameslink Railway.

Clem with his dad, Mike Garrand on Remembrance Sunday after the parade in Dunstable.

Clem with his dad, Mike Garrand on Remembrance Sunday after the parade in Dunstable.

Clem, who has autism, helps to care for his dad, Mike, 54, who has Cerebellar Ataxia, a progressive neuro-degenerative condition, which can cause gradual loss of balance, co-ordination, speech, swallowing, bladder and bowel control, and memory loss.

Clem said: “My favourite part of the day was the ride in the driver’s cab to London Blackfriars, seeing how everything works.

“I also saw inside the station master’s office, and was asked to make platform announcements for real!

“Trains are one of my special interests. I know how to get just about anywhere in Britain by train, having taught myself from reading timetables on the internet and watching YouTube.”

Clem’s mum, Deborah, 52, said: “Clem’s father was diagnosed in February 2012 and is now a wheelchair user.

“Clem helps his dad by carrying things for him, fetching things, getting Mike a glass of water when he is coughing [he also has bronchiectasis], reminding him to do things, helping Mike to get up if he falls over, and fetching the medical kit; Clem is a member of St John Ambulance, Dunstable.

“Very many thanks to Mark and his team for making the dreams of a special young man come true.”

Mark Smith, Thameslink Station Manager at Luton and Harpenden, said: “When we heard about Clem and all the good work he does for his family we felt we had to do something, especially for someone who loves trains.”