Boy, 9, becomes addicted to Henry the Hoover after rare condition makes him obsessed… with vacuum cleaners


A nine-year-old boy has become very attached to Henry the Hoover because of a rare condition which means he is obsessed — with VACUUM CLEANERS.

Lane Fountain has Williams Syndrome – which leaves those affected with a very sociable and trusting nature – who are acutely sensitive to others’ needs.

Lane’s condition sees him obsessed with vacuum cleaners and constantly offering to clean his home – with his collection of 17 assorted hoovers.

Lane Fountain, 9, who was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder which has given him an obsession with Henry vacuum cleaners
Lane Fountain, 9, who was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder which has given him an obsession with Henry vacuum cleaners

He has a Dyson, a Vax, a George and several of his favourite brand Henry – which are piled up in his bedroom.

Lane likes nothing more than visiting vacuum shops with his parents where he will happily play with them all day.

But despite his obsession his dad Mark, 34, said his son is actually not very good – at hoovering.

Mark, Rayleigh, Essex, said: “People with William’s Syndrome tend to obsess about things and in Lane’s case, it’s hoovers. He’s adored them from a young age.

Lane does the hoovering at his parents' home, although they admit he's not that good at it
Lane does the hoovering at his parents’ home, although they admit he’s not that good at it yet

“When we go shopping for the day his little reward for being good will be going into a shop where he can play with the hoovers for 15 minutes.

“It’s like watching an old man looking at a classic car. He studies every little detail, he knows all the different models, makes and product numbers.

“His room is full of hoovers and he’s got more in the garden. I think there’s more to come because he’s gravitating toward carpet washers.

Lane with his dad Mark
Lane with his dad Mark

“The funny thing is he’s not actually much good at hoovering. He tends to do the same spot over and over again and gets distracted by looking at himself in the mirror.”

Lane said: “I love cleaning and I do it every day. I love most hoovers and carpet cleaners – especially Henry, he’s my favourite.”

Williams Syndrome is a rare chromosome disorder which can cause cardiovascular disease such as narrowing of the aorta and learning disabilities.

Children with Williams Syndrome often see only the good in everyone and cannot believe anyone would want to harm them – which can leave them vulnerable.

Lane needs constant support from Mark, mum Danny (corr) Wolstenholme, 40, his full time carer, and their seven-year-old daughter Lacey.

Mark, a professional photographer, said: “As obsessions go, hoovering is obviously quite a good one to have and at least he’s keeping out of mischief.

“But there is a serious side to Lane’s condition. Youngsters with Williams Syndrome don’t have a bad bone in their body.

“Their sole purpose it to make people happy so he’s always the centre of attention making people smile and laugh.

“But at the same time there is no awareness whatsoever of strangers or danger. Everybody is their friend and they cannot see the bad in people.

“Obviously there are people out there who will take advantage of the over-friendliness – and as a parent that’s our biggest worry.

“But we wouldn’t have Lane any other way. He loves everyone, regardless of race, creed or colour and that makes him totally unique.”

Lane recently appeared on Channel 4 show The Hotel, where a maintenance man from the Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay, Devon, taught him how to hoover a room.

As a special treat staff invited him back over the weekend to help them choose from a range of new hoovers.

Sandra Morris, head of housekeeping, said: “We chose Lane to test the models as there’s no better man for the job.”

Mark recently took part in a 430-mile sponsored walk to raise awareness for Williams syndrome.

To learn more visit his Wallys on a Walk website at


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