Great Western Railway helps to make Jack’s wish come true

Friday 08th November 2019

Brave Jack Thompson became a ‘Station Master’ for the day after train operator Great Western Railway helped to make his wish come true. 

The 12-year-old, who was born with a brain tumour and is registered blind, spent the day at London Paddington station offering a five-star service to customers. 

Jack examined tickets, made a station announcement, dispatched a train from the station and took a ride in the driver’s cab of an Intercity Express Train. He travelled on the 1200 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads service.

GWR was delighted to help make his dream day a reality following an approach from the children’s charity Make-A-Wish UK. 

Jack said:  

“I’ve had the most amazing day. I loved my ride on the train and being shown inside the driver’s cab. I can’t believe how fast it felt being on an Intercity Express Train. That was great fun.  

“I love trains and often ask my mum and dad to take me to the station so I can listen to the trains coming in and out. I also like playing Train Sim World on my PlayStation and driving the Great Western Express to Reading.” 

GWR Customer Ambassador Jennie Williams welcomed Jack to London Paddington and gave him a tour of the station. 

Jennie said: 

“It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Jack and wonderful to see his enthusiasm for trains. He’s such a brave lad and has already proved himself to be a real fighter. It was lovely to be able to make it a special day for him.” 

Jack was born with an optic nerve tumour the size of a golf ball. Seven rounds of chemotherapy have reduced the size of the tumour to a pea and enabled him to grow to the average height of a 12-year-old. 

He is registered blind but can see shapes and colours in the distance and read signs close up 

Mum Diane said:  

“Jack would grow millimetres when others were growing centimetres. Now, thanks to daily injections for growth hormones, he’s the size of a normal 12-year-old.  

Unfortunately his vision won’t improve – the nerves in his eyes are damaged beyond repair. He sees an ophthalmologist every four weeks to make sure his sight doesn’t get any worse.” 

Make-A-Wish UK said it was grateful to GWR for helping to give Jack such a memorable day at London Paddington. 

Notes to editors

High res images and video available to download. 

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year – across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England. 

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets.

Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company. 

Make-A-Wish UK is a registered charity that was established in the UK in 1986 to create personalised, memorable experiences of a lifetime for children who may not have a lifetime. The organisation has since granted more than 13,000 wishes thanks to its supporters and specially trained volunteers. For more information, visit or follow us on social media at makeawishuk 

Make-A-Wish UK does not use phrases like ‘terminally ill’ in order to respect the sensitive nature of critical illnesses and families’ own approach to their situation. For instance, some parents may decide not to tell their children and their relatives or friends about the seriousness of their condition. Please follow this approach and use phrases such as ‘children with serious illnesses,’ ‘whose future is uncertain’ or ‘seriously ill.’