How special the charity race night turned out to be with so many of our friends and sponsors taking time out to travel to Blackpool to help raise money for the Happy House and , most of all, to see Sue and Dave, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
Sue spoke about all the wonderful work the Happy House is doing now and of her plans for the future - the nursery school, due to open in January, which once it is self-supporting will give her the opportunity to give free places to some of the neediest children in the community.
These children ,lacking even the most basic of social skills, toilet training, will start lessons in the outside bandas and once they have grasped the essential nursery skills will move up into an indoor class. Sue is hoping to become part of a Government food programme which will enable her to provide both lessons and lunch free to these kids, who now have no guarantee of either. It will also equip these kids with the skills to make something of their lives in future and to become useful and valued members of their community.
Sue was thrilled to bits to meets so many sponsors who were all so eager to know how "their" child is getting on, it was just as if they were talking about their own children or grandchildren.
This was the evidence , if we need any, that in the Happy House Sue has created a family that extends far beyond Watamu, with "relatives" worldwide!
Sue did her very best to get round to talk to everyone and is so sorry if she missed anyone. Dave, too, was in demand all night as he and Sue really are the Papa and Mama of the family!
Sue (barred ,by her very caring staff, from a laptop until she goes home to the Happy House because they want her to have a rest) wants to say the biggest thank you to everyone who came to the charity night, and to those who who brought gifts for their kids, and donations to the charity - Terry Burns , who founded the charity Furniture for Education brought along a cheque for £1,500; Scott and Laura Webster brought proceeds from fundraisers as did Lesley Pidcock, Andrea Carter, Lynn McCluskey and others.
Sally Wilkinson, who sponsors Evans, made a donation instead of sending Christmas cards to her friends this year.
There was a great buzz to the evening with the tombola, raffles, Lynn's Lucky Loot, name the dog, and the racing.
We were kept busy with sales of certificates donating chickens, turkeys, coconut palms, banana trees, sacks of flour or rice and new arrival packs for baby girl or boy. The idea is that you buy one of these in the name of a friend for Christmas and get a certificate to send to them. If anyone is interested just email firstname.lastname@example.org We also have copies of our Happy House painting - children silhouetted against an African sunset - for sale at £5 each, again details from me. Happy House Happiness Kits , made by Lesley Pidock, her daughter Kathryn and friends, were also selling like hot cakes.
It was such a busy night and such a happy one, everyone was enjoying themselves, and the time just flew by. The good news is that it was a huge financial success too - raising a total of £11,500 - including donations and sponsorships made on the night, and the matched donation of £3,500 from Santander Bank.
Sue says: " Thank you all so much for making it such wonderful night. You are all so kind and so generous towards our kids we know how much you love them all and that really does mean the world to us.
" Dave and I were so thrilled to meet up with old friends and the new ones who who have only "spoken" to by email. Now we can put faces to names when we are telling your sponsor kids about you.
"What lucky people we are to have friends like you!"