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Photo gallery: Memorable day puts little Charlie in the driving seat

PUBLISHED: 12:07 05 April 2013 | UPDATED: 12:07 05 April 2013

Charlie Ryan evidently enjoying his VIP tour of Long Stratton motors and their glamorous cars.  Photo: Bill Smith

Charlie Ryan evidently enjoying his VIP tour of Long Stratton motors and their glamorous cars. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2013

Young car fan Charlie Ryan was given a day he will never forget.

The five-year-old who is battling relapsed neuroblastoma – a cancer of his nervous system – has been given up to 12 months to live without undergoing painful and expensive treatment.

But yesterday there were only smiles on his face and those of his family, as the schoolboy was surrounded by glittering Ferraris, Aston Martins and Lotus cars.

Charlie’s parents face an incredibly difficult choice – make what could be the last few months of their son’s life as enjoyable as possible or put him through clinical trials in the hope of prolonging his life.

Their desire to make their time with Charlie as happy as possible sparked the Norwich Evening News campaign, Charlie’s Angels, to encourage people to donate experiences or money.

Charlie has already beaten cancer once following 19 months of treatment in Australia where his parents moved to from Norwich five years ago.

But in February doctors gave parents Sam Stroud and Tony Ryan the news that the cancer had returned and they could do little to stop it.

Stratton Motor Company answered the call for help yesterday morning with a tour of their showroom and workshop.

Charlie and his family were given a ride to Long Stratton from his grandmother’s home in Costessey in a red Hummer limousine, donated by Silverline limousines.

In Long Stratton, the car enthusiast jumped into the driver’s seats of luxury vehicles most of us can only dream about, including a replica of a Lotus F1 racing car worth $1million.

His mother, Sam Stroud, said: “He’s got loads of toy cars and loves anything with cars, helicopters and planes.

“He loved the Cars movie and Lightning McQueen. He loved the ride in the limo.”

After touring the showroom his family were taken behind the scenes of the Long Stratton company, heading into the workshops where Aston Martins and Lotus are repaired and peeking at a yellow Zonda.

The family were then taken in the Hummer to Stratton Motor Company’s racing team workshop where Aston Martin’s were being prepared for a forthcoming race.

Charlie’s father Tony said: “He was overwhelmed by it and has not stopped talking about it.”

The car day was organised by businessman Kevin Foley, who helped out after hearing Charlie’s story.

Charlie’s week of fulfilling childhood dreams started with a helicopter ride above Norwich donated by Saxon Air on Saturday. It ends this Saturday at Carrow Road where he will be a mascot for Norwich City’s game against Swansea and present the man of the match award, donated by Anglian Home Improvements.

In just a few weeks more than £20,000 has been raised to help Charlie, which could go towards paying for clinical trials in Germany.

Charlie, Sam, Tony, and daughter Orla, three, will return to Australia on Sunday where they will make a decision about Charlie’s future.

To donate to the Charlie Ryan fund send a cheque addressed to The Charlie Ryan UK Fund to Heathlands, Folegate Lane, Costessey, NR8 5DP alternatively payments can be made to The Charlie Ryan UK fund. Sort number: 40-22-22 Account number: 71589873.

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