IT WAS the moment a town came together to help a terminally-ill boy celebrate the birthday his parents feared he would never see.

Jon Tarrant-Heckford watched as around 130 vehicles took part in a carnival-style procession went past his home in Southampton Road, Ringwood.

Waitrose delivered a chocolate cake and Spiderman Happy Birthday from the other side of the street as everyone observed social distancing rules.

New Forest Post:

Jon's mother Lorraine, 53, said: "Jon was smiling from ear to ear, he was jumping in his wheelchair and his arms were going - he was just so, so happy."

Jon was diagnosed with an incurable metabolic disorder, Sanfilippo syndrome, just before his fourth birthday.

The condition prevents a child's body from breaking down certain sugars, resulting in serious damage to the brain and nervous system.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London warned Jon's parents that he was unlikely to reach his teenage years.

The procession was staged after Lorraine got in touch with one of her old schoolfriends, Jim Stride, who runs the Ringwood Facebook group.

New Forest Post:

She said: "Jon is shielding because of his condition but is allowed to go into the garden and loves to watch the traffic.

"I didn't think we'd be able to celebrate Jon's birthday because of the Covid-19 situation but Jim managed to organise a drive-by.

"I can't believe there were so many cars. It was absolutely out of this world - I can't thank Jim enough."

"Jon is in quite good health at the moment. He's lost his ability to speak and walking has got very hard but he loves life and has the most amazing smile.

"He loves people and has brought so much fun and joy into he world."

New Forest Post:

Mr Stride added: "I had a message from Lorraine asking me if I could make a dream come true. I only had three weeks' notice but promoted my plans quite heavily and received a lot of support.

"The atmosphere as we prepared to stage the drive-by was truly, truly wonderful.

"About 130 vehicles took part, including classic Minis, wartime Jeeps and all sorts of sports cars. It was quite a spectacle - almost like a carnival."

People have taken to social media to praise the event, saying it highlighted the excellent community spirit which exists in Ringwood.

One woman posted: "That's why I moved here in 1962 and have no intention of leaving."