Jubilee party for local support group

Chester the CHAT dog
Chester the CHAT dog

A Diamond Jubilee street party on Monday June 4 saw residents of four central Horsham streets celebrating the Queen while raising a princely sum of £180 for a local dementia charity.

The Norfolk Terrace Jubilee Picnic Party, for residents of Norfolk Terrace, Chichester Terrace, Wellington Road and Norfolk Road, was a time of both celebration and charity.

Residents raised £180 for Cognitive Help and Therapy (CHAT), a Horsham-based voluntary organisation which provides support for people living with dementia and their families, co-founded by Chichester Terrace resident Elayne Dunn.

Ms Dunn said: “The Diamond Jubilee has been such a wonderful memorable occasion and to have such kindness and generosity in both monetary value and time given so freely by our neighbours as part of the celebrations has been both wonderful and very much in line with the Jubilee theme of ‘giving’.

“Knowing how the money was raised and having seen such a great community come together to help raise it makes it extra special. The money will be used within the ever increasing community of people living with dementia and their families to help them through our cognitive therapy, social, training and support programmes.”

Chat has its very own special canine team member, namely ‘Chester’, a two year old Golden Retriever who has been Chat’s therapy dog since he was a three month old puppy and regularly features on their Facebook and Twitter pages and in their training programmes.

Members have seen him grow up whilst he has visited groups and homes offering the chance for people to stroke and admire him whilst opening up new conversations they may otherwise not have had.

He brings a very valuable extra dimension to Chats multi sensory programme and Elayne said he is commonly known as ‘Cheeky Chester’ and ‘Chatty Chester’.

Chester made an appearance at the Jubilee party happily wearing Union Jack ribbons around his collar, raising a smile to many faces whilst allowing the smallest of children to stroke him.

He clearly enjoyed posing regally for the Jubilee theme and benefitted from being given many tasty treats. Elayne said: “Chester is known for his dressing up and camera posing, he’s quite the diva dog, he could have his own magazine!

“It is all good fun and as long as he continues to enjoy it and the attention helps to raise awareness of Dementia and raise Chats much needed funds to allow the team to continue the work then its a win win situation.”

Jerry Bridge-Butler, chairman of the organising committee for the event, praised the generosity of his neighbours.

He said: “We really didn’t expect everyone to give as much as they did.

“We wanted to have a great street party, but do something for people within our community as well.

“Loads of people turned up on the day and had such a good time celebrating the Queen’s diamond jubilee, that when we asked for donations for CHAT everyone dug really deep.

“We chose to raise money for CHAT because dementia is something which can affect anyone, and as a local charity it seemed the natural choice.”

Mr Bridge-Butler, of Norfolk Terrace, added: “We had a tea and cakes stall organised by my neighbour Barbara Dodd, which itself raised £50 for CHAT, so special credit must go to her.”

For more information on CHAT, visit www.cognitivehelpandtherapy.org or email cognitivehelpandtherapy@hotmail.com

Article contributed by CHAT.