Blazing party for brave little boy

19th August 2011'Luke Barber was born with lots of health problems at birth and had lots of operations but has been getting better recently - helped by little baby brother.'He recently had his 4th birthday party paid for by a charity and a fire engine was there for him to play with 'Pictured: Luke with his little brother Harry.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
19th August 2011'Luke Barber was born with lots of health problems at birth and had lots of operations but has been getting better recently - helped by little baby brother.'He recently had his 4th birthday party paid for by a charity and a fire engine was there for him to play with 'Pictured: Luke with his little brother Harry.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
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A LITTLE boy who was born with a rare defect and chronic heart and lung disease was finally able to celebrate his birthday the way his family has always dreamed of.

Fire engine fanatic Luke Barber, who turned four on August 18, was lucky enough to be visited by a fire engine at his party.

Because of his illness the family have never been able to have a proper celebration for Luke’s birthday as he was always too poorly.

But his health has been slowly improving over the past year, so this year the family were able to plan the party of a lifetime.

Luke’s mum, Theresa Barber, 29, of Newton Grange, Hemsworth, said: “Luke absolutely loves anything to do with fire engines, his favourite character is Fireman Sam, so this was perfect for him.”

The youngster was able to use the hose provided by company Yorkshire Vintage, who offer the fire engine visits for parties.

She said: “He was so overwhelmed but loved every second of it.”

Luke was born with exomphalos – a rare defect in the abdominal wall at the base of the umbilical cord - as well as chronic heart and lung disease.

He was placed in intensive care and had to have surgery at just two days old, and underwent heart surgery at three weeks.

Since then he has had five other operations, but still has difficulties breathing and eating.

The condition also means his development is delayed.

But he has improved immensely after the birth of his little brother, Harry, in August 2010.

Mrs Barber said: “He used to be really petrified to eat or drink anything but when he saw his little brother doing it, he copied what he was doing and is much better because of it.

“We have also seen a huge improvement in his confidence around other children.

“So the party was fantastic to be able to see him laughing and enjoying himself with other children, especially as he has been through so much over the past few years.”

After hearing of Luke’s bravery, Yorkshire Vintage got in touch with charity, Hang on To a Dream, who paid for the whole party.

The Otley-based charity is dedicate to funding the wishes of poorly children.

Mrs Barber said she was very grateful for the charity’s generosity.