Gala nets £14,000 for kids

A CHARITY that helps sick and disabled youngsters in 1066 Country held its first ever gala and raised almost £14,000.

Charity for Kids, set up two years ago by Paul Harris and Carl Denne, hosted the event at Azur, Marina Pavilion on St Leonards seafront.

Almost 200 people attended, some of whom were children the charity has helped since its inception.

Mr Harris, chairman of Charity for Kids, said: “Being our first gala we were a little unsure how the evening would plan out. But the night was a huge success, and with the help of Barclays Bank and Santander Charity for Kids raised £13,810.50 in total.”

He gave a speech at the start of the evening about the charity.

One visitor was Amber-Rose Sims, a disabled girl from Athelstan Road, who came together with her family.

She was the first youngster Charity for Kids helped when it arranged for a group of firefighters from Bohemia Road Fire Station to fit out her back garden with a decking area so she could play outside. They spent 10 months doing the work in their spare time.

Amber-Rose suffers from a rare condition called central sleep apnea, which means her brain stops sending signals for her to breathe.

As a result of this she relies on oxygen when she is in bed, and requires oxygen tanks to be carried when she leaves the family home. She also has very lax ligaments, low muscle tone and is unable to speak.

Amber-Rose was presented with an iPad at the gala to help with her communication.

The family of Bailey Harmer also came. Bailey suffers from cerebral palsy and the charity is currently helping his family raise £9,000 for a hot tub.

Bailey’s family was presented with a cheque so they can go on holiday.

Mr Harris said: “The family has had a very tough year and we wanted to do something a little special for them. We felt that having a holiday would be very beneficial and do them all good, not only for Bailey but also his twin brother Louis.”

The evening saw a successful raffle along with an auction. It ended with the six-man Charity for Kids Channel Swim Team receiving a standing ovation for the challenge they took on earlier this week to raise more funds.