A fire chief in England has helped a little Derry boy realise his dream of becoming a top fire fighter by bequeathing his helmet to him just before he passed away.
Three-year-old Caiden Duddy from Shantallow has worn the helmet constantly since it arrived recently from England.
Little Caiden met Surrey Fire & Rescue Service Chief Paul Barrow at a family wedding in England and the two struck up an instant rapport.
Tragically, Mr Barrow was diagnosed with cancer, but among his last words before he passed away in May was that Caiden was to get his helmet.
Little Caiden, who has been poorly throughout his young life, and his family, were delighted with the gift, which was sent over by Mr Barrow’s family.
Caiden’s granny Sandra Cairns said: “Caiden is just a wee character. He loves the fire brigade and he wants to be a fireman. His mammy got him a wee outfit in England and he wears that every day along with the helmet. He tries to wear it in bed and in the bath.
“Caiden was just dying about Paul and Paul took a lovely wee shine to Caiden when they met.”
And Caiden recently got the chance to meet some real local fire heroes during an emergency incident at Good Shepherd Primary School.
His granny said: “His mammy Michaela was driving down Dungiven Road when he spotted the fire and said, ‘Mammy I have to go out and help the firemen’. He was already dressed in his fire gear and they took him over to speak to the firemen. The fireman said to him ‘ Are you my chief?’ They were all having a laugh with him.”
Sandra said Paul’s act of generosity has meant so much to Caiden. “A lot of children are into superheroes but his superhero was Paul Barrow. He talks away about ‘Paul this’ and ‘Paul that’. It was lovely what he did for Caiden and his legacy will live on with him.”