Only way is Wessex

IT WAS a right royal affair on Monday as the Chobham pair behind a lauded children’s charity raised a glass to their 20th year.

Founders Gordon and Ann Parris admit that they could not believe it has been two decades since they first launched the Children with Special Needs Foundation in 1994.

SWEET TREAT – Sophie, Countess of Wessex cuts into the birthday cake with Nick Ivil, who was the inspiration behind the charity all those years ago

SWEET TREAT – Sophie, Countess of Wessex cuts into the birthday cake with Nick Ivil, who was the inspiration behind the charity all those years ago

And they stressed that they are only looking to enhance their efforts following afternoon tea with Sophie, Countess of Wessex at the prestigious Wentworth Club in Virginia Water. “We thought it was just going to be a year-long fundraiser,” explained Gordon.

“No one dreamed anything more than that, but we have raised £4.5 million over the 20 years and £1m in the last five. The atmosphere was electric and if I could ever wish for a magic day it happened on Monday.

“I look forward to the next 20 years.” The foundation’s staff were joined for the afternoon celebration by other special guests including Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Karin Sehmer, Runnymede Mayor Yvonne Lay, and the Chairman of Surrey County Council David Monroe.

An auspicious event indeed, and fitting for a charity that deserves recognition from such luminaries.

The CWSNF also invited many of the children they have helped over the 20 years since being founded by the tireless Chobham philanthropists. One of them was Chloë Hanslip, one of the first youngsters to benefit from the charity. Chloë, who is now 25, has since established herself as a musician of distinction on the international stage.

Also present were special needs schools The Abbey (Farnham), Woking’s Park School, and LinkAble, a local organisation that assist people who have learning difficulties. A magician and caricaturist kept guests entertained before LinkAble’s Managing Director, Bob Stevens, was presented with keys to a brand new mini-van, courtesy of the Ian Wooldridge Foundation in association with the CWSNF.

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