A little boy who spends each week waving to the bin crews despite battling leukaemia has enjoyed a special ride in a collection truck.
Four-year-old Ollie Lister was given a private tour around Cherwell District Council’s waste and recycling depot at Thorpe Lane in Banbury on Monday.
The trip was arranged after the council’s waste and recycling manager, Ian Upston, was contacted by a friend of Ollie’s family to request a tour of the site following Ollie’s diagnosis in March this year.
Ollie’s mother, Becky Gage, who lives in Hardwick in Banbury, said: “My friend felt sorry for Ollie being in hospital for so long and wanted to make some things for him to look forward to when he was well enough. She knows he adores the dustbin lorries so she contacted the council to ask if he could visit and Ian was very keen to say yes.
“The trip has been fantastic and we are so grateful to Ian and the council for letting us come down because it means so much to him – he has been looking forward to it for months. At the moment we are trying to make days special and memorable rather than always in the hospital and it’s people like Ian that make that happen.”
Since his diagnosis Ollie has received intensive chemotherapy sessions which will continue for another three years. He subsequently had to cancel his birthday party in June and so has been looking ahead to his visit to the depot.
During his tour Ollie was shown how the trucks operate, where they are cleaned and how the crews train for the role. He was also invited into the front of the lorry cab so he could be driven around the site with his mother before being handed a goodie bag from the team.
Mr Upstone said: “When we heard about how brave Ollie has been and how much he loves watching the crews each week there was no way we could refuse an offer to help. It was great to see Ollie enjoying himself and asking so many questions; he didn’t stop smiling throughout. It was a real pleasure to welcome him along and we hope he enjoyed the visit as much as we enjoyed showing him around.”
As no bin collections take place in Cherwell on a Monday, Ollie was able to see the trucks being cleaned and serviced by staff at the depot.
Ollie said: “I always watch the bin men and wave at them and they always wave back. I had a really good time and I liked the ride in the truck the best because it was exciting.”