‘Best day ever’ - Shops rally to grant Alfie’s shopping spree wish
- Credit: Archant
Christmas came early for one eight-year-old after a rallying cry to grant his shopping wish before the country went into lockdown.
Alfie Burst, from Thetford, has lived with a heart condition all his life after undergoing emergency surgery as a baby for a damaged heart valve.
The diagnosis was found during a check-up shortly before a family holiday, which instead ended in an ambulance to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London for urgent surgery.
Alfie’s mum Gina said: “Doctors said he just may not have woken up one morning. It was frightening and they had to get him to hospital straightaway.”
In the future Alfie, who is the youngest of five children, will be able to have a main aortic valve replacement.
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To support the family, Make-A-Wish UK planned to send them away to Turkey to stay at Land of Legends. The family were due to fly on October 2, a treat they had been looking forward to after shielding.
But plans were halted when Turkey was included on the UK’s coronavirus travel list, meaning the flights would not go ahead.
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Mrs Burst, and husband Tony, said the holiday would have been more than a treat to Alfie, but to their teenage children Daelarrna, 16, and Bronson, 15.
She said; “There’s been lots of times they have suffered. A holiday to them was a treat. I felt really bad it wasn’t just Alfie’s time it was theirs.”
To ensure Alfie was granted a wish, the charity planned a shopping spree in Norwich for November 6.
With news a second lockdown would come into place on November 5, shops in Chantry Place rallied to bring the experience forward 48 hours to the day before lockdown.
Mrs Burst said; “It would have been like trying to tell a child Christmas is cancelled. We had prepared him he might have to wait, he was heart broken, they worked hard to bring it forward. It was like Christmas Day.
“It was more memorable than the holiday he had wished for originally because this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The treat was described as the “best day ever” by the Admiral Academy pupil, who raced out of the house so quickly when he saw they would be transported in style in a red Hummer limousine to Norwich.
As well as spending money from the charity, Chantry Place manager Nicky Colk wanted to do something special for Alfie and fundraised more than £900 for the eight-year-old who was presented the surprise in a golden envelope.
Many shops generously gave Alfie extra goodies to take home while he spent his money and made shure he gave back by buying items for his siblings, flowers for Mrs Colk and donating money for a meal for a homeless person
Alfie received vouchers from GAME, HMV, Hotel Chocolat, Wagamamas, Shaake, Krispy Kreme, Smiggle and JD Sports.