Our Harry’s Smile Background
Children First International (The charity) first became aware of the Our Harry’s Smile campaign during a Yateley Lions club meeting. Trustee, Colin Mansell, sought further information from Christina and John Rampton the parents of Harry.
Following a meeting with the parents the charity pledged its support to the Our Harry’s Smile campaign and provided it with a platform that would not only support the campaign but would also open up the pathway to Gift Aid: and so the relationship was forged.
A BT MyDonate fundraising page was opened by Christina and John (https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/ourharryssmile) and the fundraising gathered momentum.
The following words are from Christina and John and sum up the rationale for the charity giving support to this cause:
When our Harry smiled at us for the first time we knew anything else that came our way we could cope with. We had a connection with our child, a reciprocated smile and a shared love. That was a huge milestone and one which has shaped our journey with Harry ever since.
We want to make sure his beautiful smile stays with him by making his life as easy and comfortable as possible. By making sure he has all the equipment and therapy he needs to support his continuing progress.
Harry, now 5 years old, was born with a rare chromosomal abnormality and profound hearing loss. This means Harry has severe complex learning difficulties, sensory processing disorder, and visual impairment. Harry is non-verbal. Harry underwent surgery when he was 16 months old and now wears bilateral cochlear implants.
Harry is and always will be entirely dependent on others.
Our Harry’s Smile – progress made
During the last 6 months, Harry’s home has undergone essential and urgent adaptations in order to make it accessible to him, and to assist his family with his day to day care. With the assistance of Children First International, friends, family and our many very generous and understanding supporters, we have managed to raise the money to cover the remaining costs of the building works which were not covered by the disabled facilities grant.
We are committed to continuing our fundraising efforts and a new target has been set. This target encompasses the cost of Harry’s ongoing specialist equipment requirements and therapy needs for a year. Although the target has been increased, we cannot place an upper limit on the funds needed as these are lifelong requirements for Harry.
Harry also requires sensory equipment to be placed in his home. This equipment will provide much needed therapy for Harry’s sensory processing disorder and assist him with his limited communication skills.
One of the hardest things for a parent of a disabled child is worrying about what will happen when we are no longer here to speak for him.
Please help us to raise funds for Harry to support him with ongoing equipment and therapy that he will need throughout his life. Let’s keep our Harry smiling.
In addition to all the fundraising that has taken place in and around Yateley, where Harry lives, his aunt in Gloucester arranged for a collecting box in a local café and a church collection on behalf of Our Harry’s Smile.
Two supporters offered to run the London marathon and the charity was able to offer places to both Vanessa Taylor and Paul Keywood. Subsequently, Vanessa had to pull out because of an injury but Paul completed the race raising nearly £1,500 for Our Harry’s Smile.
Jenny Walkman (pictured below), a Yateley resident heard about the campaign and offered to do a sponsored walk around the Isle of Wight (IOW) and in September she was joined by Trustee Colin and together they walked the IOW Coastal Path, approximately 68 miles, raising £1,500 which the charity is match-funding. This money is being used to buy some of the main specialised therapy equipment that Harry needs. The first order was placed in early December 2017. Mention has to be made of the support given to them by Colin’s friends, Rosie and Colin Hawkins on the IOW. Rosie and Colin live in Sandown (IOW) and they offered accommodation and transport to Jenny and Colin throughout their week long walk thereby making the event an even greater success.
And this Christmas a Yateley resident, Keith Woodward, has transformed his house and garden into an illuminated wonderland and is raising money from donations from the public for Our Harry’s Smile.
Other very generous supporters organised a charity Halloween Ball with all the funds going to Our Harry’s Smile. Money raised from the charity ball has enabled Christina and John to begin transforming their garden to make it more receptive to Harry’s needs whilst remembering that he has a 9 year-old sister, Amelia. Work has started and the contractors have donated their time and the cost of the works involved which were quite considerable. This freed up the earmarked funds thus enabling it to be put to other use for Harry’s benefit.
CFI has continued to support OHS by providing the platform for obtaining gift aid and by providing prizes that have been raffled.