The lovely congregation at Poulton Methodist Church, Lancashire, opened their hearts to our family yesterday, when Elizabeth Gomm went along to join them for their morning service.
And their "noisy collection" raised a staggering £447.57 for our Happy House.
As well as their usual church collection, they hold regular "noisy" collections when members bring along the small change they have saved to throw into the pots and pans rattled by the young people and children of the church.
The aim is to make as much noise as possible, to the accompaniment of bells, tambourines and drums, with money donated going to a specific good cause.
This time we were fortunate to be chosen and Elizabeth was happy to give them a brief insight into the remarkable transformations worked on young lives by Mama Sue and our Happy House.
They were visibly moved by the stories she told them of how Harry and Victoria had come to join our family.
And Elizabeth and friend Andrea Manders, who is in Natasha's sponsor family, were overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity shown towards them with so many people, after the service, wanting to know more.
We are grateful to the minister, the Rev Barrie Lees, for his introduction and prayers, to everyone who donated, to the children their enthusiastic collecting, and to Johanne Hughes for inviting us..
We meet again...
Elizabeth was pleased to see several old friends at Poulton Methodist Church, among them was Helene Stephens who had been a great support to the Happy House in its earliest days,
Helene was events coordinator at Asda, Blackpool, and she arranged a number of collections for clothes and other essentials during the Blackpool Gazette's Eve in Africa Appeal, a campaign led by Elizabeth, then the paper's women's editor, to raise money and goods to help "finish and furnish" the Happy House,
Mama Sue and Papa Dave were never surprised to get a call from Helene asking them to pop in for another load of goods which formed part of our first container-load shipped to Kenya.
Helene was at church with her daughter and grandchildren.
She is pictured with granddaughters, Ella May and Rebecca Leonard, and (above right) are sisters Zawadi and Jane when they first came to Happy House in 2010. Jane is wearing a dressing gown from Helene!