IT will be an explosive birthday which Todd Travers certainly won’t forget in a hurry.
Because helping the schoolboy celebrate reaching double digits will be thousands of people who are turning out to ensure his special day goes off with a bang.
On Friday night the youngster will celebrate his special day in the company of royalty – as he presses the button to launch one of the most spectacular firework displays ever seen in Southampton to mark the 10th birthday of Queen Mary 2.
Todd will be on the city’s dockside to give the official signal to start the glittering display, the finale to a day of celebrations for the Cunard flagship.
All three Cunard “Queens” will be in Southampton together for the historic event which also includes a gala lunch on QM2 attended by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Todd was picked for the special job as he was born on May 9, 2004, the same day as Southampton’s QM2 took over the role as flagship of the Cunard fleet.
The Daily Echo, in conjunction with Cunard, published an appeal for a local youngster who shared the same date as QM2 and Todd, from Locks Heath, was the only person to come forward.
Todd, together with his mother Alison, who by chance also celebrates her birthday on Friday, and father, Gavin, will board QM2 and enjoy a meal before the vessel leaves her berth at the Ocean Terminal in readiness for the 10pm display.
“I am so looking forward to seeing Queen Mary 2, I expect it will be really posh,” said Todd, a pupil at Park Gate Primary School.
“It’s going to be great fun starting the fireworks – I can’t wait.”
Despite suffering from sacral agenesis, a disability which affects the way Todd walks, he is excited about touring QM2 and seeing as much as possible of the liner.
“I have never been up close to a big ship, so I can’t just imagine what it will be like,” said Todd, who enjoys drawing ships and all mechanical objects. It is going to be a smashing tenth birthday.”
Todd and his parents will be on the dockside to watch the ten minute display.
Celebrations will have begun early in the morning when the three Cunard ships make their way up Southampton Water.
Once Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are in position off the Eastern Docks, QM2 will sail slowly by as the vessels’ powerful whistles will join together in playing a unique version of “Happy Birthday”.
For the Duke of Edinburgh it will be the first time he has returned to the liner since he accompanied the Queen to Southampton when she officially named QM2 in January, 2004.
More shipping stories: