Meeting up face to face

Sheila Davies with Sue Hayward of Happy House
Sheila Davies with Sue Hayward of Happy House
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In the final part of our special look at how a Blackpool hotelier set up a children’s home in Kenya, former Gazette Women’s Editor Elizabeth Gomm focuses on a pensioner’s special mission.

A PENSIONER is set to embark on a very special holiday this summer – to meet the African sponsor child whose life she has helped transform,

Shelia Davies, from Kirkham, first became involved with the Watamu-based charity Happy House earlier this year, and is now set to jet out to Kenya to see the project for herself.

The keen photographer heard about the charity–- which was set up by Blackpool hotelier Sue Hayward – after being asked to produce an audio visual slideshow about the orphanage.

Shelia said: “I volunteered instantly, and was soon immersed in a heart-warming story about a tiny baby girl , now named Esther, found abandoned in a plastic bag, but happily rescued, saved, and now with a safe home at The Happy House.

“I have been supporting a school in Madagascar, but it is a one sided affair, and I longed to have a more personal and two-way relationship with a child in a developing country.

“I had looked at various agencies, but not found quite what I wanted until I heard about Esther, and discovered that all the children at The Happy House had sponsors.”

Former Blackpool hoteliers Sue and Dave Hayward have created a haven for needy children in Watamu, Kenya. Their child sponsor scheme means many children now have a more secure and safe future away from neglect and sadly often abusive families.

Now, Shelia sponsors a little girl named Rukia and – after sharing letters and emails – she will meet the youngster for the first time this summer.

She added: “I am a pensioner, and not that well off, but even I can afford £20 a month. After all, it’s less than half the cost of a tank of petrol, but the money is going to a much better cause.

“I am so excited at the thought of meeting Rukia for the first time. I just want to give her lots of big hugs, enjoy getting to know her better, finding out what her hopes and dreams are.

“I’m sure we will get on just fine.”


The Happy House has launched a ‘Find a Friend Appeal’.

It costs £20 a month to sponsor a Happy House child through Blackpool based charity, Children of Watamu (UK reg: 1098731)

You can download a sponsor form from the website: or please email or

You can also help by fund-raising or making a donation.

Please call Elizabeth Gomm on 07905 130589 (10am-6pm).


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