Tilly spent the rest of Monday afternoon patiently posing as part of the festive photo session. I gave the journalist an update of Tilly's activities and future plans and felt pleased that the magazine seemed so genuinely pleased to be able to portray the positive side of Tilly's story.
Leaving the building took some planning. Tilly did not feel comfortable to reverse her chair along two narrow ramps, down the six deep steps to the pavement, and I was sure that my heart would not last the operation. It reminded me a bit of Tilly abseiling, but without the ropes. Instead, I lifted onto a chair, and she was supported by one of the Team. Tilly's chair was put into 'manual-mode' and three of us guided this twenty stone, twenty thousand pounds worth of life-changing equipment, backwards down what felt like a black run! Mission accomplished, I galloped up the steps and collected Tilly and carefully carried her down, a step at a time, with the photographer guiding my footwork. It was good to see Tilly safely in her seat, and racing off to the bus stop! I really did feel genuinely cared for by the Full House folk, they seemed so moved by her determined spirit and sunny nature. I am sure they will not forget her in a hurry, and I know that we will always remember them.
Tilly delighted once again in hopping on and off the buses as we made our way back to Euston. We arrived at 4.30 pm and had been informed that we were unable to travel until 7.00 pm as our tickets only covered 'off-peak' travel. Wondering how we would spend the hours waiting I returned to the Guest Services Office that had so disappointed us earlier in the day. What a difference half a day makes! The charming official checked our tickets, inspected our Family Rail Card, and invited us to join the 1700 train. He assured us that he'd have the ramps ready for us and told us we even had plenty of time to go and collect Tilly her much-desired Burger King meal. Astonishing! This peak-time train was empty as it costs a premium. I picked Tilly out of her chair and she sat on the seat of the train beside me, munching on her tea and unwrapping all the Christmas presents that Full House had given her. Such a happy little girl. The compartment was hardly big enough for her smile.
Memories are made of this.