Laughlin becomes an archaeologist | Make-A-Wish
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Wish child Laughlin smiling, carrying excavated items

Six year old Laughlin was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011. He loves history and wished to find out what a real-life archaeological dig was like, so Make-A-Wish sent him to Silchester Field School in Hampshire so he could see for himself.

The University of Reading's Department of Archaeology has been excavating and researching Silchester Roman Town in Hampshire since 1997. For six weeks every summer, archaeology students from Reading and enthusiasts from as far away as the US and Australia attend the Field School.

When Laughlin arrived on site he was met by Director Amanda Clarke and shown around the dig site. He washed and sieved real life archaeological finds with students of the school, created, broke and fixed a pot and finally got muddy by digging for real finds in the trench.

Laughlin, who is from Burnham-On-Crouch, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma after experiencing excruciating headaches during the night. Doctors decided to carry out an MRI which found he had a brain tumour; he was diagnosed on the Thursday and by the Friday was undergoing major surgery. He has also endured both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and the thing that got him through all this was visiting the British Museum whilst receiving treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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Mum Andrea said: “My favourite part of Laughlin’s wish has been seeing his energy, enthusiasm, excitement and focus – his core of who he is within his wish. This is what he wants to be, so seeing him digging and finding artefacts has been amazing. It’s been the best experience.”

Amanda Clarke, Director of the Silchester Field School, said: “We were delighted to be able to share an archaeological day with Laughlin! He was so passionate about every aspect of archaeology, and threw himself into each activity with huge enthusiasm. Seeing the excitement on his face – and the biggest of smiles – was a great reward for all of us and made the day worthwhile. I would have him as a member of my excavation team any time! Make-A-Wish certainly made his wish a reality.”


Sponsored donations made towards a child’s wish will go towards their One True Wish. If a child’s wish receives over funding the additional donations will be put towards a similar wish. If a child's wish doesn't reach 100% funding their wish will still take place and general funds will be used.