Hollywood star meets brave George via video link.
An eight year old is an official Ghostbuster after being sworn into their cadet ranks by the one and only Ray Stantz.
Fans of the 1984 Hollywood hit movie will remember the character, played by Dan Aykroyd, teams up with Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Ego Spengler (Harold Ramis) as they tackle an underworld menace from their Manhattan Firehouse HQ.
The trio is later joined by Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) as they try to save Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) from a threatening otherworldly entity.
Well, a new recruit has now joined the team! George, from Harrogate, has been provided with an honorary position by the Hollywood superstar.
A 48 second clip of the ceremony, which took place by satellite, has now been viewed 7,500 times – in less than one week.
‘Hello, George, this is Ray Stanz,’ says Dan Aykroyd in full Ghostbusters’ regalia. ‘I’d like you to put up your right hand now, as I swear you in as cadet supervisor for the East Midlands UK District.’
‘George, will you solemnly swear, say I do solemnly swear, to upload the code of the Ghostbusters cadets’ organisation worldwide: to serve everyone with compassion and kindness.’
‘And to trap and report ghosts wherever they are bothering living human beings in a negative fashion. You’re sworn in, sir!’
George describes taking the Ghostbusters’ oath as being ‘the best day of his life.’ And things were about to get even better.
Video messages celebrating his accolade came from media star Keith Lemon and Leeds’ United footballer, Adam Forshaw. And it didn’t stop there.
Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore, sent a video message to ‘give a shout out and welcome you to the team.’
‘You know, George, we Ghostbusters, we’re all over the world, we’re family and you’re definitely an important part of our ghostbuster family,’ says Ernie.
‘We really appreciate everything you bring to the Ghostbusters. Now, of course, George, I bust ghosts, right, and I hear a lot of things because I hear ghosts like to talk.’
‘Well, the word is you definitely have the tools, and you have the talent, and now you’ve got all of us Ghostbusters who’ve got your back so, just remember, you’re never alone.’
George lives with Ebstein’s Anomaly which means only half of his heart functions properly. Becoming a Ghostbuster was organised by the Make-A-Wish UK team which worked closely with Leeds Central Library.
The library provided the backdrop for our intrepid (and brave) paranormal investigator as East Midlands Ghostbusting Society joined forces with him to seek out any signs of paranormal activity.
George arrived to the venue in ‘Ecto-1’ which is the 1950s Cadillac favoured by the ghostbusting crew. And, in a nod to the original movie, the car even had its very own police escort.
The unique number plate is a reference to ‘ectoplasm.’ This is the gooey substance exuded by ghostly entities during their manifestations and it’s something featured heavily throughout the movie.
‘When I first watched Ghostbusters, it turned my whole life upside down and made me completely happy!’ says George. ‘When I’m in hospital, it’s a bit scary, but just like the Ghostbusters I try to face my fears. I try to be brave.’
After spending a lot of time at Leeds Children’s Hospital he wanted to share the magic with other critically ill children – and so he requested Ecto-1 took a detour and pay a visit to the hospital.
Leeds Libraries, Make-A-Wish UK, the East Midlands Ghostbuster Society, Ghost Corps, Film Car Hire and a host of other organisations made George’s wish spring to life.
‘Ghostbusters has been a source of strength for George from a very young age,’ says George’s Dad, Matthew.
‘Watching them be brave in scary situations, getting through tough times. He equates that with his own experience.’
Matthew adds that being a Ghostbuster for a day provided a fantastic confidence boost for George, who continues to receive regular treatment at Leeds Children’s Hospital. He chose his wish to be a Ghostbuster in early 2020.
Eszter Ingleson, George’s Wish Granter, said: ‘To see George finally getting to live out his wish and be a Ghostbuster for the day, thanks to donations from the public, is a very special feeling.’
‘As today shows, the power of a wish really can light up the darkness for critically ill children and their families, creating lasting memories to treasure forever – no matter what the future holds.’
Make-A-Wish UK was forced to put thousands of wishes on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it saw a 40% drop in income.
In April 2022, Make-A-Wish UK appealed to people in Yorkshire and beyond to donate funds needed to grant George’s wish.
‘Throughout Leeds, an extraordinary community has come together to grant George’s wish,’ says Jason Suckley, Chief Executive of Make-A-Wish UK.
‘But, with many more children throughout Yorkshire waiting for a wish, we need that community spirit to continue past this weekend.’
‘It has been a pleasure to work with Make-A-Wish to bring George’s wish to life,’ says Rhian Isaac, Senior Librarian for Leeds City Council.
‘George’s story touched the hearts of the Leeds Libraries team from the moment we heard it, and we hope that we can help create a memory that George and his family will remember forever.’
Make-A-Wish UK is part of a global movement that was established in the UK in 1986 to create life-changing wishes that revive the childhood that critical illness often takes away.
The charity says there are currently more than 60,000 children in the UK who have been diagnosed with a critical condition which changes their lives and the lives of their families forever.
It adds that the joy of childhood is brought to an abrupt end as families focus their attention to treatment plans, appointments and trying to cope with the worry which takes over their daily routines.
The charity says the power of a wish revives a childhood stolen by critical illness and that it brings light and joy to children and their loved ones, leaving a profound and lasting impact on all their lives.
To find out more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK please visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or follow @makeawishuk on social media.
Photographs / footage kindly supplied by Make-A-Wish UK.