South Tyneside schoolboy who missed his Christmas party is smiling again thanks to a kind-hearted invitation

A South Tyneside schoolboy had the smile put back on his face thanks to a generous invitation this festive season.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 11:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 2:06 pm

Joshua Jones, eight, from Brockley Whins, was the star of the show at the South Tyneside organisation Arts4Wellbeing’s festive celebrations on Wednesday, December 18, after being unable to attend his own school’s Christmas party earlier in the week.

Joshua’s sister Hannah, seven, a former Gazette Child of Courage winner, has been seriously unwell in the RVI in Newcastle for the last five weeks.

Hannah, who was born at just 25 weeks into her mum’s pregnancy, suffers from a number of health conditions including cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus.

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Joshua Jones, 8, at the Arts4Wellbeing Christmas party in South Shields.

After hearing about Joshua’s story, a member of staff from Arts4Wellbeing got in touch with his dad on Facebook to invite him to their own Christmas party at their centre on Derby Terrace in South Shields.

The organisation helps people with mental health needs and learning disabilities to re-engage with society, gain confidence and develop social skills.

“Joshua doesn’t get to do that much out of the house, so it would have been everything to him to spend time outside of school with all his friends,” said dad Ryan Jones, 30.

“When I told Joshua that he had been invited to another one he was over the moon.

Joshua Jones, 8, with staff members at the Arts4Wellbeing Christmas party in South Shields.

“He never stopped dancing and he smiled from start to finish.

“It was the first time I’ve seen him smile in ages after everything that’s happened, it was so nice to see him happy.”

Joshua, who has ADHD, joined staff members and a number of young adults with a variety of different needs, who use Arts4Wellbeing’s services.

Ryan added: “It was amazing for a young boy to be around so many different adults. This has given him a different perspective and bit more life experience.”

“It was overwhelming what they did for Joshua, it restored my faith in society.”

Raylee Harrison from Arts4Wellbeing said: “We hate to see anyone left out and believe that everybody should be included, so when I heard about Joshua we had to invite him. He had a fabulous time, he gave us a hug when he left and I had a little tear in my eye.”