Award finals joy for auntie Libz

Elizabeth Gomm, with the special sign made for her at the Happy House
Elizabeth Gomm, with the special sign made for her at the Happy House
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Former Gazette women’s editor, Elizabeth Gomm, who quit a lifetime in newsrooms to work for charity has been nominated for a national award.

Elizabeth, who lives in Blackpool, is a finalist in the Network She Foundation International Women’s Day Awards to be held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on March 4, and which recognise the achievements of both women and men in fields of business and beyond.

Elizabeth had worked at The Gazette for 26 years when in 2010, she left her job to become full-time UK coordinator for Children of Watamu charity.

The charity was founded by former Blackpool landlady Sue Hayward, and opened the Happy house Children’s Home in Watamu. Kenya, in 2010.

A kindergarten and primary school followed and in January this year, the Happy House Secondary School was opened – ensuring children in care of the Happy House, ad those in need from the local community, have the highest standard of education.

Elizabeth, or Auntie Libz as she is known as by the Happy House youngsters, said: “I was Women’s Editor at The Gazette when, in 2007, I went to interview Sue about her Happy House dream. She had no land, nor plans, and very little money, but today her Happy House is just as she described that day – and better.

“Something about this inspirational woman, her work, and the children she was dedicating her life to, struck a chord. I started to help in a small way then and over the following years, I visited Kenya and became increasingly involved.

“In 2010, the year we opened the Happy House, I left The Gazette to work as a volunteer – looking after everything for the charity, raising funds and awareness, here in the UK. Apart from having my two sons, this is the best thing I have ever done.

“Mine is a ‘job’ that brings so many rewards. Of these, my friendship with Sue and her husband Dave, the kindness of others, my bond with the children in our care at the Happy House or in our school, and the certain knowledge I am – in my own small way – helping to secure their future, are the greatest.

“I feel very honoured and touched to be nominated for an award and to follow in the footsteps of Sue, who won a Network She Award a few years ago. It sits proudly on her desk at the Happy House.

“If I were to receive one, we would complete a charity double act.

“Mine would sit on my desk here, next to the cherished trophy the Happy House family surprised me with on my last visit.”

“I am only sorry I can’t attend the awards, but I have a commitment to speak about Happy House at a Women’s World Day of Prayer service in Over Wyre that evening.”

To find out more about Children of Watamu email: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net or call 07905 130 589. Visit www.childrenofwatamu.net