Teenager’s clock tower tour

Newspaper: Wakefield Express.'Story: Jemaine Firth, a teenage with the rare condition Schizencephaly, pictured during his dream trip and VIP tour of inside the town hall clock in Wakefield.'Photo date: 08/09/15'Picture Ref: AB205b0915
Newspaper: Wakefield Express.'Story: Jemaine Firth, a teenage with the rare condition Schizencephaly, pictured during his dream trip and VIP tour of inside the town hall clock in Wakefield.'Photo date: 08/09/15'Picture Ref: AB205b0915
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A teenager with a rare birth defect has had a childhood wish come true after being given a tour of the city’s historic town hall clock tower.

Jemaine Firth, 16, was shown around by Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box, after the Express published a letter from his grandma Dawn Jagger asking if he could tour the civic building.

Jemaine, of Flanshaw, has schizencephaly, which causes developmental delays, speech impairments and problems with movement.

He has been fixated with the historic building from a young age, as he could hear the clock chime from the home he grew up in on Rufford Street, with mum Claire.

Mrs Jagger said: “When Jemaine gets a fixation for something he focuses all his energy on it.

“He used to lay in bed at his mum’s house and he would hear the town hall clock chime and he got all excited, saying ‘dong, dong, dong’.

“When he was nine I videoed him knocking at the big doors of the town hall pleading for someone to answer.

“A month or so ago I was coming back from Wood Street and pulled up at the traffic lights near the town hall and he tried to undo his seat-belt and get out, saying ‘dong dong dong’ again.”

Mrs Jagger decided to write to the Express to see if Jemaine’s lifelong wish could be fulfilled.

Mrs Jagger, 55, said: “Jemaine’s mum Claire passed away in 2009 and it has been such a long awful time for us.

“Touring the hall was lovely for both of us and the council did everything they could to make it perfect for Jemaine.

“They didn’t know Jemaine liked dressing up but they let him try on the mayor gowns. “He couldn’t hold back when we saw the gown. He walked into the room and just said ‘wow’.”

“I hadn’t had a feeling of such joy in a long time.

“Not only was it wonderful to know how happy Jemaine was, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it too.

“I can’t even put into words how much it meant to both of us and how grateful I am to the Express for publishing the letter and to the council for making it happen.”

Coun Box set a date for the pair to tour the clock as soon as he saw the letter in the Express on July 17.

He said: “I was moved by the letter when I read it in the Express and am pleased to have been able to make this happen for Jemaine and his grandma.

“It was a real pleasure to meet them.”

Wakefield Town Hall opened in 1880. Its clock tower is 194 feet high, with 107 steps to reach the top.