They say never meet your heroes as they’re sure to disappoint, however home-grown band ‘Snow Patrol’ threw away the rule book in that regard.
After hearing the inspiring story of young Hayden Geraghty, who has Autism and ADHD, the band reached out to the Limavady lad for an all-access experience at their SSE Arena gig earlier this month.
Indeed, the nine-years-old is no stranger to fame - a rising star in his own right, he has been rubbing elbows with the higher circles of society over the last few years. Garnering media attention for his remarkable story, Hayden was non-verbal until the age of five, when during his idol Tim Peake’s Principa Mission, he joined in the countdown to the astonishment of his parents. And it would seem his love for space is opening Hayden up to new worlds and new high profile friendships.
Initially developing an interest in Snow Patrol following Tim Peake’s ‘Space Rocks’ campaign, Hayden’s love for the band has grown ever since. The icing on the cake was the release of the band’s album ‘Wildness’ after a seven year hiatus. Sporting an astronaut on the cover, the album’s hit track ‘Life on Earth’ features frontman Gary Lightbody, kitted out in a space-suit at the European space agency- a place close to Hayden’s heart as his mum Caroline told ‘the Journal.’
“Hayden had been in that very spot, the wee round window looking out over the world. I shared the picture of him and one of Gary from the music video on social media. And it was Gary himself who contacted me to arrange a meeting.”
Doubting the authenticity of the email, Caroline said it took a few days before she believed the legitimacy of the invitation. Going above and beyond to ensure Hayden had a positive experience, Snow Patrol invited their young fan and his family along to the concert VIP style.
“The guys were unbelievable and really understood Hayden’s Autism,” Caroline said. “In the past we’ve had a negative experience with the SSE Arena just due to the noise and chaos. Hayden became so distressed and we had been nervous to return.”
Putting the Geraghtys at ease, Snow Patrol met with the family beforehand to give them a tour of the arena before the crowds came. Once settled, they were seated in the VIP box alongside the band’s family.
“I thought Hayden would become overwhelmed but the guys were great. He danced away all night with the kids in the family box, I’ve never met nicer people in my life.”
Describing the ‘unbelievable’ experience, Hayden even had a hug for each band-member backstage, something his mum assured he doesn’t normally do, particularly with people he has just met.
“They made us feel so comfortable. Gary and I spoke at length about the incredible power of music and how it connects with an individual on so many levels. That’s what their music means to Hayden,” she added.
‘Buzzing’ to return to school this week to share his out of this world meeting, Hayden’s teacher even played a few Snow Patrol hits for the class. And the gentleman that is Gary Lightbody even messaged the family the following day to thank them for coming along and to say how much he enjoyed meeting the inspiring nine-years-old.
And as for young Hayden, the sky really is the limit- we will just have to wait to see where he journeys next.