CHEK Upside: Young train fanatic fundraising for Heritage Acres roof rebuild

CHEK Upside: Young train fanatic fundraising for Heritage Acres roof rebuild
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After a fire destroyed the roof of a building at Heritage Acres, one young train fanatic started a fundraiser to pay for the damage.

For as long as he can remember,  Jacob has had a love for the locomotive.

“Yeah he just really clicked into how trains work and I think the Thomas storyline really landed well with him,” says his mom Ali Baggott.

While Thomas the tank engine maybe his favourite toy and cartoon, his passion reached new heights once he first rode the rails.

“Ever since he went out to Heritage Acres and actually got to be on a train it just exploded from there,” says Ali Baggott.

It was at the Saanichton site where Jacob met his first real-life conductor, Claude. Claude runs the mini-trains at Heritage Acres and Jacob may be his biggest fan. He even dressed as Claude for Halloween as the two have celebrated major milestones together.

“Yeah his third birthday was there and it was one of the best days of his life,” says Baggott.

Heritage Acres has been closed during the pandemic, and even worse, earlier this week the historic site caught fire.

“So I showed him the pictures and I showed him the video of the fire there and he got really sad and the first thing he asked was did Claude get out and is everyone safe and what about the trains,” says Baggott.

No one was injured and no trains were damaged, but Jacob still felt the need to do something. So for his upcoming 5th birthday, he had an idea.

“Jacob just wanted to help, he wanted to empty out his piggy bank and I don’t know where he got the idea about birthday money but he suggested he could give that to Claude to help fix the roof,” says Baggott.

Jacob collected all he had and his mom launched a GoFundMe page, turns out the soon-to-be five-year-old may need a bigger pig.

“We set the goal at $250 but we just kept raising it because it just kept growing which is incredible,” says Baggott.

As of today, the GoFundMe has reached the $3,000 mark. It’s a big help to a beloved site that operates by donation and will help ensure Jacob can one day return to his happy place.

“I’m not even sure if they need the money, they have insurance to cover the damages but I think it’s just a sweet gesture from him,” says Baggott.

It’s also made for two happy parents.

“Definitely proud mom and dad moment but I give all the credit to him,” says Baggott.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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