THE Camelia Botnar Children’s Centre welcomed a royal visitor to its Christmas fair.
As the charity’s patron, the Duchess of Norfolk was at the fair, held at the centre in Wellesley Avenue, Goring, to meet parents, children and staff members.
She said: “I chose to be a patron of this wonderful charity because I love children and I truly admire the work they do.
“The staff here have a fantastic ethos and even the centre in itself is really quite impressive. I am proud to be the patron of this charity.”
The Camelia Botnar Children’s Centre is a purpose-built building for pre-school children with special needs or from disadvantaged families. The centre is currently entering its 33rd year of helping families from as far as afield as Horsham and Chichester.
Its Christmas fair featured a Santa’s grotto and stalls selling homemade cakes and crafts, as well as a performance from Goring First School’s choir.
Michael Kay, director of partnerships and funding, said the fair is among a plethora of fund-raising efforts both on the part of the centre and of local organisations.
“So many groups have supported us, and it is fantastic,” he said. “We are looking to expand and refurbish so all the money really does go to good use.”
Foster mum Maureen Denton is currently fostering a baby girl who is disabled. She held a knitwear stall at the fair, featuring her own and fellow knitters’ handiwork at Village Crafts.
She said: “We do not yet know what her condition is, but she has poor muscle tone. I wanted to come here and help support because the staff here are such a help to me. They take my little girl for two days a week, and it makes all the difference.”
Mum-of-three Emily Karchewski has two daughters and a son. Her son Ivan, now four, attended the centre before he went on to primary school.
“Ivan is autistic, and the centre was just wonderful with him,” she said. “They really did give him the best start he could possibly get before school.”