A DIGGER-mad two-year-old's dreams came true today (Monday, August 18) when staff at a recycling depot allowed him on a special visit to drive one of their JCBs.
Workers at the Biffa Skippers Lane depot in Middlesbrough noticed two-and-a-half year-old Benny Paterson watching the JCBs through the depot fence on several occasions - and finally invited the wide-eyed youngster along to see the vehicle close-up.
Little Benny, from Linthorpe, visited the yard when it was quiet and got to sit in the driver's seat and play with the controls.
He was also presented with his own mini-sized high-visibility vest, printed with his name, and a JCB goody bag.
Benny's mother Emma Leonard, a nurse, said: "He just kept saying, 'wow, amazing', the whole time. He absolutely loved it. I had to go to work before he had finished and his dad said he just cried the whole way home saying he wanted to go back.
"I often drive him along to the depot to watch the JCB as he just loves it. One day I was in the car park with him and one of the workers said he was sorry but it wasn't safe for us to be in the car park, but asked to take my number and he'd arrange a visit. I honestly didn't think any more of it but then they arranged all this, which was really really kind of them.
"Benny has diggers all over the house, digger pyjamas, digger T-shirts which he insists on wearing all the time, and he loves bin lorries too. He even bakes for the binmen and every Wednesday when we pick his brother up from school we have to go and wave to the binmen and watch the lorries go past.
"His brother wants to be a scientist but when you ask Benny he says "binman"."
Joanne Rigby, recycling officer at Biffa, said: "He was very excited. We let him sit in two of our bin wagons and he got to press the button to empty all the waste out of the back."
Benny was also presented with his own mini-sized hi-viz safety vest, printed with his name.