Local hero Jake Storr will be star of Grimsby Christmas lights switch-on
HO-HO-HO, Jake's our local hero!
Brave Jake Storr will take centre stage at Grimsby's first festive event, Go To Town This Christmas, after Grimsby Telegraph readers voted him as North East Lincolnshire's local hero.
The news marks the end of an incredibly tough year for the 11-year-old, who underwent pioneering surgery in America to help him walk unaided following a £40,000 fundraising drive, backed by the Telegraph.
The Holton-le-Clay youngster will be given the honour of riding in Santa's sleigh next Thursday before flicking the all important Christmas lights at the Riverhead. As reported, the event is being organised by Grimsby Scunthorpe Media Group in association with North East Lincolnshire Council and Freshney Place Shopping Centre.
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Jake's dad, Gavin, couldn't wait to tell his son he had won the honour of switching on the lights. He said: "He will be over the moon. It will finish off a very hard year for Jake and I expect it will be very emotional for us as parents to see. He makes us very proud every day and we are really looking forward to seeing him up there.
"He has never done anything like this before."
As reported, Jake was born with cerebral palsy which meant he could not walk unaided.
In 2010 he underwent a revolutionary selective dorsal rhizotomy operation in America, which will hopefully allow him to walk for the first time. In May he had further orthopedic surgery to straighten his feet – which his family hope is his last operation.
Throughout it all, Jake has amazed his family, friends and strangers touched by his story, with his determination to reach his goal.
Gavin continued: "He is not doing too badly, it is taking longer than expected but he is getting there. He is getting up and about more now and doing more walking, but it is a long road.
"There are a lot of people in the town that deserve it but Jake has had a tough year, a tough 11 years, so it feels great he is now able to do something like this in Grimsby where people have helped him.
"It is great, a very welcome surprise."
At the heart of the two-day celebration is a giant Christmas food market along the length of Victoria Street, which will run from 3pm to 9pm on Thursday and 9am to 5pm on Friday.
The finest producers across the region will sell delicious treats to help you prepare for all those festive feasts – with free parking throughout the event so you can shop in the market, Freshney Place and surrounding stores, until you drop.
And if that wasn't exciting enough, a parade of Father Christmases will ho-ho-ho it from Grimsby Minster to the Riverhead on the Thursday with a pack of adorable reindeer.
Street entertainers, carol singers, a brass band, schools choirs, fairground rides and a stage hosted by Lincs FM will add to the celebrations.
There will also be £500 up for grabs in a special raffle.
Donations collected throughout will go to When You Wish Upon A Star, a Lincolnshire-based charity which makes the dreams of children with life-limiting illnesses come true.
We'll see you there!
Free bus travel for kids to Top Town festive gala – page 20