Cornwall Council in the UK has 52,000 street lamps across the county. When one of them burns out, citizens can report it in an online portal, and engineers from SSE will come out to fix the problem. But if you happen to live in the same neighborhood as Ben Paramore, you won’t have to worry about reporting broken street lamps. Ben will do it for you. And you won’t even have to ask him.
Every evening, Ben and his father walk around their Saltash neighborhood looking for street lights that have gone out so they can report them. They’ve been doing this without fail for several months.
Ben is 12 years old and is on the autism spectrum, and he has a fascination with street lamps and everything about them.
“He loves street lights and is fascinated by them, and he wants to know everything about them, like ‘Are they heavy?’ ‘Why do they move in the wind?’ etcetera,” says Ben’s mother, Jane.
And what better gift for a little boy who is so in love with street lamps than to have his very own lamp post dedicated to him? So that’s exactly what his community, with the help of the disabled children’s team at Together for Families, did for him.
The lamp post was supposed to be unveiled in March, but the event was postponed due to the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. However, when restrictions were finally lifted, Ben got his day in the spotlight.
“It has been a complete honour and pleasure to organise this for Ben, and I would like to thank everyone who has given their support to make this happen,” says Disabled Children Family Worker Wendy Venning. “Ben was really happy and excited to tell [everyone] that he now owns his very own lamp post.”
A plaque was placed on Ben’s dedicated lamp post, and friends, neighbors, council staff, and SSE engineers all showed up to celebrate his dedication to street lamps. SSE also gave him a safety helmet, a high-vis jacket, and a headlamp, amongst other items. Waitrose even catered the event.
“It was such an amazing thing to happen for Ben,” says Jane. “The smile on his face said it all. It was also lovely to see the community who came out to support us. It was such a special moment, and we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that made this possible.”
What makes Ben unique is also what makes him awesome! Never be afraid to be you!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?