Sunday, 31 July 2011

Budding artists

Art isn't on the school curriculum in Kenya, but Sue has ensured that both art and music are included on the timetable at the Happy House Nursery School.
She has always said: "We may have another Van Gogh or Beethoven, but how will we know if they never get a chance to pick up a paintbrush or an try an instrument?"
Well, Sue, you are certainly right on the first count judging by these splendid efforts from David,Rose and Samson.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Friends indeed

Mike Gibson of Blackpool's award winning cafe bar and restaurant ToasT was totally bowled over by what Sue has achieved in Kenya, and by the way young lives are being saved and transformed at the Happy House.
Introduced to our charity by a member of Sifa's sponsor family, Colin Johnson, Mike has pledged to support us as much as he can.
And he very kindly invited us to an evening, hosted by ToasT, at Blackpool Masonic Hall, when as well as giving freemasons a sample of what delicious meals they can expect now ToasT has taken over the catering there, he also gave Elizabeth an opportunity to tell them about our Happy House family.
And a raffle, with prizes given by ToasT and the Masonic Hall, raised £240 for our funds.
A big thank-you to Mike (pictured with Elizabeth and also with club Masonic Hall president Colin Goodwin whilst talking about the charity) for his support and to everyone who took such an interest in our children and gave so generously to the raffle.

Friday, 29 July 2011

From Gace with love ..

Our Oscar was thrilled to get this lovely drawing from his sponsor "sister" Grace.
Grace who lives in the beautiful English countryside with her mummy and daddy, Louise and Garry Webster and baby sister Alice, created her own impression of our Happy House garden.
Oscar was delighted with it, and is looking forward to meeting you as soon as baby Alice is older enough for an African adventure!
Times tables
Sue has set a challenge to teaching staff x every pupil in school.
She discovered, by chance, that our older children had no idea of their nine times table, and when she delved a bit deeper discovered that multiplication isn't factored in to school until much later in Kenya than it is here.
So Sue, knowing how important tables are throughout life, has challenged teachers to ensure that every child - regardless of whether they are at our nursery or Sawa Sawa will have a thorough grasp of multiplication.
And, as she wants to make sure learning is fun, not a chore,we are appealing for any colourful and entertaining multiplication teaching aids you may no longer need or, perhaps, if you are looking to buy something for your sponsor child. It's always best when a child gets something he or she can share with their brothers and sisters.
A rap dvd of tables is already on the way, which the charity has purchased, but if you can help at all our address is Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Run, baby, run ...

Trainer Charlie Woolf who puts fitness fanatics through their paces on special holidays in Watamu was so impressed when she visited our Happy House this week she has promised to help as a volunteer and to send her guests to meet our family .. and the opportunity to encourage more to join our sponsor child scheme.
Uncle Billy says our toddlers were keen to get started and Peninah and Natasha were soon in their trainers.
"Though it is difficult to fasten them since they won't stay still - I thought they looked like the tennis champs from  the Williams' family, ha ha!"
And once on the move they were just too fast to get a clear shot. Go, girls, go ...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Kind hearts in Kirkham

Thank you to the very kind and attentive members of Kirkham Probus Club, Lancashire, for giving me such a warm welcome when I went to tell them all about Sue and the incredible journey that led her to the Happy House.
They were moved, inspired and amazed by how one woman's sheer determination and dedication has given us this wonderful charity which is saving and changing so many children's lives.
They were so interested that their questions at the end of my talk lasted 25 minutes!
And they were generous to our children too, individual donations made the club donation of £30 up to a total of £85.
Thank you all, so much, for your kindness.
The pictures show the members at the meeting, and me with Ray Huck, who invited me to speak, secretary Geoffrey Singleton and chairman Don Fletcher.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Friends for life...

A friend is a hand that is always holding yours ... and our toddlers are just proving the point!
The friendship our toddlers are making now are thicker than blood and will last a lifetime. They may not be related but they are "brothers and sisters" in the truest, most beautiful way.
Stevie was such a sad little dot when he came to us now he's very much his own little self, and very popular too.
He's struck up real bonds with both Linus and Pendo. That they are often seen holding hands!
Sue thought it was time Linus and Stevie moved from cots into beds - the  cots were needed for our new babies - so they put them in a room with boys' team leader, Evans, and some older boys.
Every morning the two littlies were found sharing the same bed, having hopped in together in the night.
Poor Evans wasn't getting much shut-eye because they kept falling out, so now they are bundled into bed together (until they are ready to be separated) and the mosquito net, instead of being left loose to the floor, is tucked in tight so it will stop them rolling out!
And Evans is no longer losing sleep!
Wage rise worry
For a small charity like ours dependant on fundraising for its very existence any sudden budget change is a headache.
The Kenyan Government has just decreed a wage rise of 12% for every worker, for us that equals another £250 a month on our wages bill.
Of course we don't begrudge anyone their wage rise, our staff know how we value their efforts, but it is going to be a tough call for Sue who has the constant worry of balancing the books./
We need another 12 child sponsors just to meet that extra cost ,alone, which has to be paid from this month.
So we are asking you to pull out all the stops to tell your family, friends and colleagues about the joys of sponsoring a Happy House child and each to encourage one more person to sponsor.
Forms are available from me at and I'm happy to provide any more information needed or to have a chat with anyone who might be interested.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Pressing task

As in any family, our Happy House children are encouraged to help out where they can - learning new skills and gaining independence in the process.
This weekend Mercy volunteered to help with the mountain of ironing in the laundry room and was having a really happy time pressing the uniforms.
How neat our nursery children will look for school today. Well done, Mercy.

Secret's out

Camping passes are sold-out and day passes are selling fast for a magical event taking place in Lancashire on Saturday, August 13.
The Happy House is one of three charities benefiting from the Secret Garden Party, the brianchildof entertainer Scott Jay Marks who is hosting the party in the grounds of his country house idyll, betwixt Blackpool and Preston.
There will be entertainment , with live star acts and djs from noon to midnight, a holistic village in a woodland setting, a wishing trees, stalls, fairies, children's entertainers, food, bar and much, much more.
The Happy House is having a promotional stall, plus we are pooling prizes for the bottle-bola, cake stall, raffle and auction which will are in support of the Happy House, the Meningitis Trust and the Parkinson's Society Blackpool Holiday Project.
So if you have anything you could donate in the way of raffle, auction or bottle prizes please contact Elizabeth on 07905 130 589.
Tickets for day passes, £5, are back on sale today, from 10am, from Jean Parkes at Personality Extra Now on 01253 899333 [Mon-Fri - 10am till 4pm - outside these times you can leave a message!]
Contact Lynn Avis McCluskey on 07908 086776 for stall reservations - stalls are £10.
Stall booking fees, day and camping pass tickets are a non-refundable donation to charity.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Putting on the style

Just like girls the world over, our girls just love having their hair in different styles and put a lot of time and effort into creating elaborate braids or twists for each other.
And as school breaks up on Wednesday our older girls, who attend Sawa Sawa Academy, have been making sure they will look very smart indeed for the closing ceremony.
Our lovely Maria is our model for the pictures showing, step-by-step, how she made her hair look so beautiful.
Meanwhile, the younger kids don't miss out. Their elder sisters, who Uncle Billy calls "Our Beauty Queens", are only too happy to practise their styling on the little ones - Janet is pictured styling Sauma's hair, while Jane works her magic on Karembo.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Parcels of love

Papa Dave is never sure what awaits him when he calls in to the post office to collect the Happy House mail.
This week he returned with a bumper bundle of parcels sent by friends in the UK. Mama Sue and Uncle Billy ensure that every child who receives a gift, letter or card from members of their sponsor families understands who it has come from and why. We want so much for our children to know how much they are loved by people beyond the the Happy House itself.
The older ones really value and love their sponsors. The little ones are too young to understand yet but they, of course, love a present and cards and letters are safely stored in their memory boxes for when they are a bit older.
Uncle Billy tells me about this week's exciting post: "We just got presents from several generous sponsors  Carol Baxter for David Karisa, the Soroptimist " aunties from Bury" for Rukia, Jackie Fineman and Hailey Aspinall for Charity's birthday in August; The Open Door Project for Rose; Dawn Grant for Lily (pictured) and also from Lisa, Jonny , Oliver  and Ashley  Rawcliffe for Peninah's first  birthday.
How does Penny (pictured) look in her new swimsuit  ... what about that smile?
Rose got a big card from The Open Door project and Mama got down to reading it with her. Karembo witnessed all the involved i.e David, Rose, Lily and Rukia putting their memoirs into their memory boxes after posing for pictures.
She got hold of the photograph we made of you, Libby, with  her grandma and asked me to take her pic and that she would like to take it to her memory box too.....well then, she had her wish because  she didn't ask for too much!"

Friday, 22 July 2011

A cherished Rose

A wonderful group of pensioners who regularly attend the Open Door Project Breakfast Club on Grange Park, Blackpool's biggest estate, donate a small amount each week to sponsoring our lovely Rose.
She has just celebrated her birthday and as well as sending some money for her savings account, they very kindly sent her a card and a present.
She was delighted with both, and looked in wonder at the huge card which Mama Sue read with her. Rose knows all about her sponsors and is always interested to hear more.
The card, which she will always treasure, is another precious memento for her memory box.
I called in on the pensioners recently to have a chat and to look through their own cherished scrapbook which contains all the pictures and news they receive from and about Rose, and took this picture of some of them with Deaconess Judith Wray (second from right) who runs the group.
More parcels have arrived at the Happy House and we'll reveal a little more about that in tomorrow's blog!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Poetry please, Sir!

The Lytham St Annes students are now enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation taking time to go on safari and to see a bit more of Kenya before they start their journey home.
Our teachers and kids will not forget the fantastic learning curve they experienced together while Nathan Spacey and his students were in school.
Before he left Nathan got right down to the level of our children to teach them to recite a special poem "All I really know ..." which contains some important lessons for the lives they have ahead of them. 
They'll probably be reciting it to their own kids in years to come.
Thanks Nathan. You really went the extra mile.
Pants please
I don't have any hesitation in adding yet another essential item to the shopping lists of those of our friends wishing to send a parcel, or planning a visit to the Happy House. Sue tells me that as well as needing white socks for ages three upwards and black school shoes for our boys and girls, we also have a shortage of boys underpants for ages 2-3 and 4-5. They are cheap to buy and won't cost much to post so if you can help we would be so grateful.
The postal address is: Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

All that's gold

Many, many congratulations to our good friends Frank and Val Higham on a very special event.
Proud grandparents Frank and Val  are also very proud of their Happy House sponsor child, Oscar, and married, for 50 years last weekend, they kindly chose to make our family a part of their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations by asking guests to their party for donations instead of gifts.
They had a splendid day, with family and friends, as Frank tells us: "We had a reception at the Alma Lodge in Stockport for our family and friends - 47 people attended some travelling from Devon, Yorkshire, London, Chalfont St Giles and the Wirral.
The luncheon was a great success and enjoyed by all. Our three "lads" spoke movingly about their Mum and Dad and I knew that in my response that I would not get through without breaking into tears and sure enough it happened on cue.
Afterwards many of our guests came back to our house to continue the celebrations.
The following day the family had lunch together at a local pub, so it was a delightful weekend shared with our dear family and friends.
We are really pleased to be able to support the Happy House with the donations of £530 received from our guests, and I will of course pass on not only our sincere thanks for their generosity, but also so your comments of appreciation.
We are now looking forward to our 60th."
To Frank, Val, all your generous friends and famiy : Thank you so much for caring for our children and for including our family in your special day.
Congratulations and lots of love, too, on reaching such a wonderful milestone in your marriage.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Life's a toddle!

Small steps but a giant leap to our little ones as they find their feet and get toddling.
Natasha and Penina have joined Rose in discovering a whole new world within the Happy House since they're walking, and Brian is not far behind.
Not to be done our Harry is hot on their heels, he's able to stand holding on to a single finger so it won't be long before he is taking his first solo steps and giving them all a run for their money.
Our Uncle Billy tells me: "The little ones are having fun and Natasha is always celebrating ever since she got "MOBILE" same with  Penina a fact that has made Brian, who started  walking a while ago but  then chickened out of the race ,really think thrice about retracing his lost tracks!
Harry is not willing to be left behind either, he needs only a finger and can stand for a very long time without giving up.
He is also good with the "push-type" stroller."

Monday, 18 July 2011

Making waves...

Mention the word "beach" and our kids are jumping up and down with excitement ... they just can't clamber into their swimsuits or grab their towels quickly enough!
So were all set for a splashing time when they joined with their new friends from Lytham St Annes High School for an outing to the beach..
And they had a ball playing games on the beach and  "swimming" in the sea.
Our tiny tots weren't left out loving the massive sandpit which stretches for miles ... a bit different from the small one we have back home at the Happy House, hey, kids?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Weighing in

Keeping a record of how our children are growing is essential to good health and a regular weigh-in ensures Mama Sue, Uncle Billy and the mums know how each child is doing.
Billy says it's become a serious matter: "Now the kids wish to find out how much they weigh and the pictures can just show how serious it gets when one learns that they are below expectations.
"The reaction to low performance is ultimately obvious on both counts.... an increase in our food bill  as the low performers want to put on weight while our top achievers want to widen the gap.
"Poor Papa Dave The List for shopping gets longer!"

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Fw: Sock it to 'em!

Sue tells me she would welcome donations of black school shoes for our five and six year old boys and girls, plus WHITE socks for the three to six year olds.  If you are looking to buy something extra for our family, these items are real essentials - we do still need tough schoolbags for our older children. This one, was sent by Brenda Groves who found it in a charity shop, went to Evans whose own locally made bag had fallen to bits!
Nothing requested here is too heavy so it shouldn't be expensive to post. Our postal address is:
Sue Hayward's Happy House
P.O. Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.
You always respond so generously to our appeals and we so appreciate everything you do to help our children.