Sunday, 28 November 2010

Karibuni nyumbani, Sue and Dave!

All of us in the UK are sorry to see Sue and Dave leave to go back "home" to the Happy House family and can only imagine how excited the kids will be to see them after their two week safari to the frozen lands we are experiencing, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
Sue and Dave were thrilled to see everyone here but, I know, they were itching to be back even though they had to negotiate the airport with a mountain of baggage stuffed full of goodies and necessities for the children.
They were going straight to the Happy House from the airport this morning  and, no doubt, the whole family will be waiting on the steps to greet them. Two weeks has seemed like forever to the little ones who love their Mama Sue and Papa Dave so much!
Just a reminder to anyone who is planning to visit Watamu anytime in the next year, we have loads of multi-vitamins to get out to the kids.  If you can take some, even if only a couple of packs, please contact me  ( and I'll get them to you.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Happy House in print

We now have prints for sale of the wonderful picture  which takes pride of place in Happy House.

Anyone who sees the  painting of  children silhoutted against an African sunset, and who knows our kids, can pick out individual children .. even though it wasn't painted of them intentionally,  it is definitely them, so much so that this picture could only ever have been destined for a Happy House home.

It was my pleasure to buy it for the Happy House, writes Elizabeth Gomm, when I was there in October. I knew Sue had seen it outside the artist's studio and loved it. I loved it, too, the minute I saw it, going  "Oh that's John, there's Mwende, look at Oscar "... just as Sue had done!

I had been given some money by kind friends when I left my job at the Blackpool Gazette  and added to it to make up the total.

Now we have A4 size prints available at £5 (plus £1 p&p) available for sale with every penny going to the Happy House. To get your copy send a cheque made out to The Happy House Project, alongw ith your name and address, to Elizabeth Gomm, 6 Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS.

Treat yourself, or a friend, to a little piece of the Happy House for your home.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Racing results!

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   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!"

Thursday, 18 November 2010

On English soil

Our Sue, one of Lancashire's leading ladies, is back in Red Rose country and has been catching up with friends, enjoying a little retail therapy and organising the finishing touches for the charity night on Friday.
It's lovely to have Sue and Dave back with us, writes Elizabeth Gomm, but I'm deliberately not using the word "home". We all know where their hearts lie now .. and , yes, Happy House family  they are missing you every bit as much as we know you are missing them.
Sue tells me you were only really letting her some for one day, but I know how much she wants you to share so we  are sure you won't mind if we borrow her for just a little bit longer than that.
The Happy House management team confiscated her laptop to guarantee that she would get the rest she so deserves, which is why I'm writing this instead of her.
Sue and Dave are so looking forward to meeting up with old friends and new ones at the charity night on Friday. It's going to be a really busy night but lots of fun too, and there is so much news from the Happy House to tell you all.
Yesterday, Sue joined Lynn McCluskey  and  I  at our  Watamu Girls' Club "office",  Parks, the Art Deco Cafe in Blackpool Stanley Park, where we hold all our Happy House think-tanks. The HQ is drinking coffee al fresco on a warm day, but this time of year it's a bowl of soup indoors!
It was lovely to have Sue there with us and we had so much to talk about! We really miss her when she's not here, and the Happy House when we are not there!
Sue and Dave are staying in Blackpool until Sunday when they willl be heading south to stay with more friends and for meetings in London before heading back HOME  next weekend.
Their stay is  not long enough for us, but  for the Happy House kids every minute  Mama Sue and Papa Dave are away is, we know,  a minute too long!

Fw: Silence is GOLDEN!

Entry level childcare students at Doncaster College in Yorkshire really did turn silence into gold for our Happy House kids.

Friends, family and colleagues happily parted with their hard-earned cash in exchange for a little peace and quiet!

The college's support for us, writes Elizabeth Gomm,  has come following a visit from the course leader, Lesley Pidcock, who fell in love with our ever-growing family ( can't we all hear Sue getting back from the UK and asking: "How many is it now, Billy?")  when she visited with her husband, Alan, and daughter, Kathryn, whilst on holiday last summer.

They spent as much time as they could with the kids and sponsor baby Natasha and one of our older girls Janet, who is now firm friends with Kathryn.

Lesley has since become a really active supporter, spreading the Happy House word and organising fundraising events.

She is hoping this week's sponsored silence will bring in £250 which she will be bringing, along with other money she has raised, to donate at the charity night on Friday.

Well done to everyone at Doncaster College and a big, big  THANK YOU from everyone in the Happy House family!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cold day, warm hearts!

It was such a cold day yesterday, but there was a warm welcome, and some very warm hearts, to greet me when I went to talk about the Happy House to a ladies group at Elswick United Reformed Church, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
I'm still a bit nervous about giving talks but they were so kind I felt at home straight away, and they started their meeting with a hymn and prayer,which included a special mention for everyone at the Happy House and all those who help it other ways.
They were so interested in the inspiring story of Sue's work and loved all the photographs of our Happy House family and wanted to know all about our children.
At the end of my talk they made a donation of £120 which they had raised at coffee mornings and that plus a donation from one of the members and the proceeds of a bring and buy brought the total up to £180.
It was a really enjoyable afternoon for me and I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone there for making me so welcome and for their very generous donation.
A special thank you, too, to the one man , a special guest at the meeting, Mr Jimmy Preston, who led the hymn singing with his splendid voice!

Thursday, 11 November 2010


This is the way we build a wall .... quickly!
Work is steaming ahead on building a wall to enclose the Happy House grounds and keep our family ever safer. It is thanks very kind new friend and supporter, who prefers to remain anonymous, who donated £6,000 as soon as she heard that we needed to replace the wire fence, writes Elizabeth Gomm
The increase in crime in the area, much of it violent, has been worrying Sue and Dave who felt the Happy House may be vulnerable and were anxious to make sure their family was a safe as it could be.
Our new friend and her family  live in the UK but have a holiday home in Watamu and have visited there many times.
She hasn't visited the Happy House yet but heard about Sue's work through a friend and wanted to know more about it ... and was bowled over by what she saw on the website and contacted me in the UK to see how they could help. As soon as I told her about the need for a wall she promised to send a cheque.
She said that she and her family  were making their donation because of their admiration for the work of Sue and her team and because of their own love for the local people who she describes as gentle and resilient in the face of poverty, unimaginable to all except those who have seen it for themselves.
"The children in Watamu touch your heart, they are fun, they are kind and they need help," she says.
She stresses that her  family's support for the Happy House will be ongoing and appeals to others, in a position to help, to look globally, beyond their own needs and effects of the recession, and to do what they can address real hardship in the underdeveloped countries of the world, like Kenya.
The Happy House struck a chord with her because of the excellence of the child care it gives, in a true family environment, where every child is loved and respected as an individual.
Her family's generosity is a godsend. It came just as Sue and I were working together to launch a buy-a-brick appeal to build a wall, which may have taken many months to reach its target.
Sue says: "It is just so generous, totally out of the blue, and exactly when we needed it.
"We are so grateful and looking forward to meeting these wonderfully kind people.
"Knowing our family are as secure as we can make them is our top priority. We are here to keep children safe in every single way. Now we will be safe as houses at the Happy House."
The wall, around our 4 acre site, is now well on the way. In just a week, the sand and blocks arrived and the bricklaying has started... with women doing all the labouring! 
Sue adds: "Everyone is enjoying watching the way our wall goes up and singing ... "This is the way we build a wall, build a wall!"
"Thank you so, so, much for making it possible."

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

How Many are we now Billy?

On Friday we had a call from Nancy the Children's Officer to say she was on her way with a little girl of 18 months called Neema. As the conversation went on we realized it was the baby sister to Margaret who came to us a few months  ago very badly burnt from trying to make porridge for her baby sister on an open fire. Margaret was taken to the Children's office as her Mum had died and her Dad had disappeared leaving the children to fend for themselves. Neema was taken to Grandma. The old lady is now unable to cope and when she went to the Children's Office Nancy knew we would want the sisters together.
Today we took Neema to the Doctor as she is having trouble passing water. We discovered she has a severe water infection, but now we have the right treatment we can weave the Happy House Magic and make Neema as happy as her 'brothers and sisters'
Sue, Yes Billy. It's 46 .

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Double Delight

Our beautiful twins Pendo and Saumu, received a present by post from one of their 'family' members Sandra Foulkes, who is also a twin. The girls were delighted to be given the brightly coloured bags and to find lovely presents for them inside. They were very happy to model their new clothes for Rose, and later really enjoyed looking at their new books. The twins seem to be developing a chit chat that only they can understand, they toddle around chatting to each other and laughing.

She really is and Angel

An Angelic card reading evening held by Lynn McCluskey and friends proved to be a wonderful night indeed, raising a divine £450 for the Happy House Kids. Lynn and 5 of her friends who also read angel cards offered taster 15 min readings. Over 50 people had their cards read through out the night. The evening proved so popular the owner of the venue where the event was held The Grape Vine in Poulton -Le - Fylde asked when the next one was going to be and could it be soon please ! Watch this space ….

Lynn set herself a challenge at the beginning of the year to raise £500 in her first fundraising event by swimming a mile. She was really happy to beat that target and raised £650 instead. Spurred on by the wonderful support she received by family and friends, plus seeing first hand how the money raised was being used to transform the children's lives, when she volunteered at the Happy House in Feb, she secretly challenged herself to raise £2,000 by the end of the year. With her latest Angel evening Lynn is absolutely thrilled to have finally achieved that goal she set herself in Feb, raising a total of £2,099.70

Lynn said " I could never have raised this wonderful amount of money, if it wasn't for the amazing support of my family and friends and everybody who has attended the events I've hosted. It's only their kindness and generosity that enabled me to achieve my goal. So to everyone of you a GREAT BIG thank you."

Thank you Lynn from the Happy House Family, it is because of people such as your self that makes our work for the children possible. XX


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

What a lot we got!

Our Happy House kids will be bouncing with health thanks to a Blackpool shop, writes Elizabeth Gomm.

Kathy Goodlad, proprietor of health store Bowland and Harret, Topping Street, who is in the sponsor families of David and Rukia,  took Sue's appeal for multi-vitamins to heart and phoned around her suppliers to see if they would help.

And their response has been magnificent.  As you can see, Kathy now has hundreds of packs of children's vitamins ready and waiting to go out to our kids.

So we are asking anyone who is planning a visit to the Happy House in the next year to take as many as they can with them. We will have a collection point at the charity night on November 14, so you can pick some up then, otherwise you can contact me by emailing

Most of the children who come home to the Happy House have medical problems and have been exisiting on very little nourishing food. Sue is finding that vitamins really give them a boost and would like them all to have a daily dose.

Earlier this year when Sue was told my little sponsor child Pendo (pictured) had a mild case of rickets I got the right vitamins for her, and now she has been given a clean bill of health.

Being able to help her have a strong skeleton, thus preventing all the problems that go with weak bones, is one of the best things I have ever done.

So a huge thank you to Kathy, who is also collecting in prizes for the charity night,  and her kindhearted suppliers for their very generous donations.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

What a difference

On the 29th of October I posted an article about 6 children that we had been called to help. Look at this picture after just a few days they are Happy House Kids smiling happy, clean, and most of all safe. The Children's Officer visited again on Friday and was amazed how the Happy House Magic had transformed the children. The day the children came home to us I went to see Ruth who owns a beauty salon in Watamu, as she is expert at pedicure, I asked the best way to deal with the children's feet. Ruth immediately offered to come and help, within 15 minuets she was at the Happy House with everything needed to deal with the very badly infected little feet.  All their feet are now free from jiggers so they can run about, ride the bicycle,s and play football with their new brothers and sisters. When we see such a difference in children in such a short space of time it really does warm our hearts.