This is the moment that Jonathan, a remarkable boy from Wiltshire had his wish to meet his literary hero – children’s author Michael Morpurgo.
Finding Jonathan's voice
Jonathan, who was 10 when his wish was granted, learnt to communicate despite being ‘locked-in’ due to severe cerebral palsy. He also has kidney failure, chronic lung disease and is oxygen dependent following a car accident when he was in the womb. He learnt to ‘eye talk’ using a spelling board when he was seven and has since developed a reading and writing age beyond his years. Now, he too is going to be a published writer.
Meeting Sir Michael Morpurgo
Jonathan’s teacher suggested he contact Make-A-Wish, because he dearly wanted to meet his favourite author and loved hearing his stories read aloud – especially the book ‘Why the Whales Came’.
His wish became a magical reality when Make-A-Wish arranged for Jonathan, his mum, his carer and his two sisters Susannah and Jemima, to travel to Exeter from their home near Chippenham. On arrival Jonathan and his family went for dinner together and then headed to Exeter Cathedral where Michael Morpurgo was waiting to meet them!
His mum Chantal said: “Michael was only meant to be with Jonathan for half an hour and had to be cajoled out after 50 minutes by his agent as he then had a concert to do. We went over to the cathedral for the concert, and then met Michael briefly afterwards, when Jonathan told him: "I loved it. You are compelling."
A special meeting of two writers
Afterwards Jonathan said: “It was wonderful to meet my literary hero. The best moments during the wish were hearing Michael Morpurgo read my story aloud and being able to ask him my questions. The wish has given me lots of good memories and the impetus to put a book together. Thinking back on the wish makes me feel happy and excited. Thank you for making my wish come true. I am meeting the head of an agency in London about possibilities for my book.”
Jonathan wrote to thank Michael, saying: “Hearing you read my tale was like sitting at the feet of my storytelling master; immersed in the richness of your narration we travelled the landscape of my silence together.”
Chantal added: “Meeting Michael Morpurgo was a dream come true for Jonathan, and it was a really special meeting of two writers. The girls enjoyed meeting Michael too and it was lovely that they could also be included. Susannah, who’s seven, gave him a poem, and Jemima, four, did a drawing for him.”
The next chapter
The story doesn't end there! In February 2018, Jonathan's story, including his wish, was broadcast as part of CBBC's My Life series. And after 12 months of hard work, writing and editing, Jonathan's very own book Eye Can Write, a memoir of a child's silent soul emerging is being published and released in July 2018, with a foreward from Michael Morpurgo.
Jonathan also has his own blog Eye Can Write and campaigns for all children to be taught to read and write, regardless of their label.