Ceilidh means more than £143K raised for orphans

Guests join the Old Parrot Band at the ceilidh in aid of Hope and Homes for Children at the South Holland Centre.
Guests join the Old Parrot Band at the ceilidh in aid of Hope and Homes for Children at the South Holland Centre.

DANCING the night away at a ceilidh was the latest way determined fundraisers in Spalding have supported orphaned children across the world.

Guests to the ceilidh at the town’s South Holland Centre helped to give the coffers of the South Lincolnshire and North Cambs Support Group for Hope and Homes for Children a welcome boost – taking their overall fundraising total to more than £143,000.

The staggering total has grown since the group was formed in June 1999. Founder Wendy Chew, of Spalding, said she was stunned when she went to Romania to see the conditions the orphans were living in for herself.

She had been inspired to help after hearing Mark Cook, a former colonel with the UN contingent in the Balkan War, speak about the charity he had set up. The children had been in cots for five years,” she said. “They did not cry because they learned that no one came. Birthdays were unheard of.

“I went there with a group from across the country because I felt I need to see where the money was being spent. A lot of people want to know the money is going to the right place.”

Hope and Homes for Children works to close orphanges and find family homes for abandoned children, as well as support vulnerable families. It operates in Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sudan.

Mrs Chew said: “It was the look on the children’s faces and the staff were doing their best but it was dreadful conditions. I knew I had to do something about it.”

More than 100 people turned out for the ceilidh and enjoyed a sausage and mash supper, with almost £700 raised. The Old Parrot Band also came out of retirement to play the event.

Mrs Chew added: “We’ve had committee members who have come and gone over the years but all have been instrumental in helping us. Rotary has also been very supportive.”

nTickets are now available for the annual ball on Friday, November 9, at the South Holland Centre. This year’s theme is diamond celebration and more information is available from Helen Whitaker on 01775 760562.