Mum left overwhelmed as daughter's Disneyland dream becomes reality

Elsie Gooderson celebrating her fifth birthday with her family, mum Rebecca, Jordan Hunt, and two-ye

Elsie Gooderson celebrating her fifth birthday with her family, mum Rebecca, Jordan Hunt, and two-year-old Noah, as they tour round Fakenham which has been turned into Disneyland by the locals dressed in costume. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A mum has been left overwhelmed by the response of Fakenham as people from across the town transforms it into Disneyland to celebrate her daughter’s birthday.

Rebecca Gooderson is the mum of Elsie, who on August 4 celebrated her fifth birthday. Miss Gooderson wanted to make the day a celebration as doctors said there was a chance she might not reach that age.

Elsie Gooderson celebrating her fifth birthday with her mum Rebecca, as they tour round Fakenham whi

Elsie Gooderson celebrating her fifth birthday with her mum Rebecca, as they tour round Fakenham which has been turned into Disneyland by the locals dressed in costume. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The family hoped to go to Disneyland to celebrate, but sadly plans were scuppered by the pandemic and the fact they are all still shielding as Elsie suffers from Kagami Ogata Syndrome (UPD14 Paternal), a condition which means her ribs never fully developed and are the shape of coat hangers. They hook around her lungs, crushing them.

The 26-year-old then turned to people in the town, to help transform it into the magic kingdom, and they did not disappoint.

Elsie Gooderson's car at the Woodspring House care home, as she tours round Fakenham which has been

Elsie Gooderson's car at the Woodspring House care home, as she tours round Fakenham which has been turned into Disneyland by the locals dressed in costume, to celebrate her fifth birthday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“We're so totally overwhelmed right now, we can't believe the effort,” she said.

“Elsie is so happy she thinks she's just been to Disneyland and everyone was amazing.”

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday with a tour round the town, which has been turned into Disneyland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

From Woodspring House to schools and shops, everyone in the market town was involved in some way. 

Almost every shop window was decorated with banners, and balloons hung proudly from shop fronts displaying happy birthday messages to the girl.

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The scene along Market Place was like something from a Disney classic, and the family drove in a vehicle fit for royalty, with people lined along the street to greet, cheer and send their wishes.

Most Read

The fancy dress did not disappoint, with full mascot costumes being worn by people. The likes of Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy, along with Maui from Moanna and the cast of Toy Story appeared in the town.

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday with a tour round the town, which has been turned into Disneyland. From left, Kelly Lubbock, Annie-May Banson, and Carol McCubbin with her daughters, Lola, nine, and Nancy, five. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“It is like wearing a sleeping bag, but it is all worth it to make her day,” said Mary Leeder, who along with Taylor James, Victoria Neil and Siven Cook brought the Pixar classic to life.

“It is something really small, but for her, it will mean the whole world and will make her smile,” Mr Cook said.

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Outside the Red Lion Lounge, manager Teresa Haughey, joined by two T-rex and singers, felt quite emotional seeing the crowd gathered.

“Seeing the town like this, you really see how people come together for something so important. It is just so amazing to see.”

Elsie Gooderson's car touring through Fakenham to celebrate her fifth birthday as the town is turned

Elsie Gooderson's car touring through Fakenham to celebrate her fifth birthday as the town is turned into Disneyland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday

People in Disney costumes line the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday with a tour round the town, which has been turned into Disneyland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Maleficent (Sarah Bryden) joins people in Disney costumes in the streets of Fakenham to celebrate El

Maleficent (Sarah Bryden) joins people in Disney costumes in the streets of Fakenham to celebrate Elsie Gooderson's fifth birthday. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter