Private McLean keeps the troops in line

William became fascinated with soldiers after passing the army barracks on the way to his hospital appointments. With the help of the Scottish and Ulster Gunners, we granted his wish to be a soldier for the day.

William was born with a kidney disorder called Nephrotic Syndrome which means that his kidneys leak protein. This causes swelling in various parts of his body and to help manage this, William has regular infusions of protein and is tube fed. In the last year alone, William’s had nine operations including one to remove a kidney.


Through all of this, William has stayed his talkative, funny self and has fought through every challenge like a solider.

On the day of his wish, William and his family arrived at the regimental headquarters of the 105 Royal Artillery, also known as the Scottish and Ulster Gunners. William was presented with his very own soldier uniform that had been especially made for him.

William wants to be soldier when he’s older but sadly because of his condition this will never happen. He’s always been my brave soldier, so it was very special to see William’s wish to be a soldier come true. Watching him live his dream for the day was amazing and he’s not stopped talking about it since!
– Tracey, William’s mum

Dressed the part, William got into the character of Private McLean and headed out to the field for some target practice using paintball guns. After getting his aim just right, he was shown the computer simulator which taught him how to shoot different missiles and drive tanks. William’s hand eye coordination proved excellent and he was very good at this part of training!

He then took on the role of Sergeant Major and ordered his parents and the army personnel to march around the barracks. He told them to stand to attention, so he could inspect them and had to tell his parents off for laughing.

With the troops in order, Private McLean headed to Edinburgh Castle for the firing of the One O’clock Gun. He stood to attention as the gun was fired and felt very proud as tourists took photos of him. He then headed back to the barracks where the Scottish and Ulster Gunners presented him with photos from the day and a remote-control car.

Read more about William’s wish in the Daily Express