A car-mad teenager enjoyed his last stay at a children’s hospice with a special birthday surprise – being taken for a spin in a gleaming McLaren. Matthew Clark has been a regular visitor to the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice (EACH) base in Ipswich but now, having turned 18, he is transitioning to St Elizabeth Hospice.
To mark his last visit in style, staff used their contacts to arrange for the beautiful black car to be brought to The Treehouse. The following day – his actual birthday – Matthew then got another surprise when former EACH Band 6 Nurse Team Leader Michelle Marshall brought along her Tesla.
The McLaren belongs to Mick Palfrey, whose friend Richard is an EACH volunteer and the husband of Lead Administrator Suzi Macey. Leiston’s Matthew, who has a range of health complications, including pulmonary hypertension, microdeletion and scoliosis, was able to press buttons, open and close the doors and pose for pictures, as well as being taken for a spin around the car park several times.
Mum Janice said: “It was such a lovely gesture, a complete surprise to him and something we appreciated very much. Matthew was on a real high afterwards and had the best and most special time. He said he’d remember it forever.
“Our thanks go to the staff who made it possible and both people who spared the time to bring their cars along. They went above and beyond to make his birthday extra special.
“We’ll all miss everyone at The Treehouse. They’ve been brilliant and always had a knack of making Matthew laugh. We’ve been visiting since he was six or seven months old so it’s been a huge part of our lives and the care and support we’ve received has been tremendous.”
Mick, from Kirby Cross, said: “It was so rewarding and very enjoyable. I was more than happy to help and to see the smile on his face made it all worthwhile. It was a brilliant experience.”
Michelle, who worked for EACH for ten years and knew Matthew from a young age, added: “It was a privilege to be asked along and be part of his last stay at The Treehouse.”