Early Christmas present gifted to loca four-year-old boy

YOUNG Archie from Dumblane has received a special gift just days before Christmas, making his dreams of becoming a firefighter for the day come true.

Thistles shopping centre in Stirling introduced a community wishing well earlier this year for visitors to have the chance to make a wish.

Throughout 2023 the centre has been making some of them a reality as part of its #ThistlesHelps initiative, including Archie’s wish to be a firefighter.

Firefighters at Stirling Fire Station welcomed Archie for a tour of the station where he learned about the equipment, sat in the front of the fire engine and even used the hose.

Archie using the hose at Stirling fire station
Archie using the hose at Stirling fire station

Archie’s mum Claire Kinnear said: “We are so grateful to the team at Thistles for making this happen and to the amazing firefighters who kindly showed Archie the ropes and made his wish come true.

“This will certainly be a Christmas he won’t forget.”

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “We were delighted to help make Archie’s wish of becoming a firefighter for the day come true.

“[We] are very grateful to the firefighters at Stirling for working with us to make that happen.

“We are committed to supporting our local community through #ThistlesHelps and are constantly thinking of new, innovative ways in which we can give back to those that have helped us so much.”

Thistles has been playing ‘genie’ throughout the year, having already granted a number of wishes dropped into the well.

Five-year-old Tait attended his first football match, four-year-old Katie was gifted a ‘huge balloon’ and 13-year-old Charlie was presented with a new Scotland football top.

The Thistles wishing well has been raising vital funds for Make a Wish UK to help create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Everyone who makes their own wish through the well is encouraged to pledge a donation to the charity.

The Thistles team have also been out in the local community donating £500 worth of Christmas gifts to both residents of Fairview Care Home and Recovery Scotland’s party. 

This outreach is part of Thistles’ ongoing campaign which aims to give back to the local community.

For 2024, Thistles is keen to hear from any local charities and organisations who would benefit from the support of the shopping centre.