A bright young Wearside boy with Down’s Syndrome is celebrating becoming a teenager after having a huge birthday party alongside friends who also have disabilities.
Steven Harrison, of Fulwell, turns 13 on Monday and has enjoyed a big bash at The Albion pub, in Roker, to mark the special occasion.
Thanks to Positive Steps Community Transport, whose driver Richard Aslett was happy to help out for the day, smiling Steven and his pals also got to go on a trip to South Shields on a minibus.
Back at the Albion and basking in the sunshine, the group saw Steven open his gifts before enjoying a disco.
Steven’s loving mum Nicola, also mum to twins Lucy and Thomas, 11, had saved up to host the party, wanting to give youngsters who have disabilities or learning difficulties a chance to have fun.
Steven, a Portland Academy pupil, was born with the genetic disorder which is caused by an extra chromosome.
As well as having learning difficulties, he has also been regularly taken into hospital after suffering from chest infections.
Nicola said: “It’s been a great day and the kids have all enjoyed it.
“Richard has taken them out in the minibus for nothing and it’s something I really appreciate.
“Children like Steve don’t really get invited to a lot of big parties so it’s nice to get them all together in one place.”
Nicola also paid tribute to those who made the party a success.
“I couldn’t have done this without my friends who have all helped whether it’s sorting the invitations or getting other things organised,” she said.
Richard, who contacted Nicola on Facebook about offering his services for the party, said: “The kids have loved it today and that’s the important thing.
“We had some Ed Sheeran songs on on the bus and they were all laughing and singing along which was fantastic.
“We generally keep our prices low and we do a lot of trips for free.
“If any groups are struggling to get transport sorted, whether it be a group from an old people’s home or a women’s refuge, they can get in touch to see if we can help.
“My job is driving but I love doing things like this more.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces makes it al worthwhile.”
For more information on Positive Steps go to www.facebook.com/positivestepcommunitytransport.