Littlehampton women ‘inspirational’ for people facing adversity

Billy with Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex Harry Goring, Daphne Snowden BEM and Margaret Bamford
Billy with Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex Harry Goring, Daphne Snowden BEM and Margaret Bamford

In all walks of life we meet people who we find are truly inspirational and wonder how they do it, the two ladies I am going to mention this week I am fortunate to have known prior to being mayor and both are incredible in their own way.

The first I’d like to mention is Daphne Snowden, known to most of us as Snowy, or now officially known as Daphne Snowden BEM, having been bestowed the honour of the British Empire Medal at an investiture ceremony at the New Millennium Chamber last Wednesday. Daphne, who you will likely have seen outside Sainsbury’s collecting for the Poppy Appeal, was named in the 2019 New Year Honours list in recognition for her services to charity and the community in Littlehampton.

Lorna Haynes at the fundraising concert

Lorna Haynes at the fundraising concert

The medal was presented by Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex Harry Goring, on behalf of the Queen and her citation was read out by former deputy lieutenant Margaret Bamford.

Daphne became confined to a wheelchair aged 38 but did not let this stop her and since 2014 it is believed she has raised more than £70,000 for the Littlehampton Poppy Appeal. Snowy has also been a volunteer collector for The Fire Fighters Charity for 58 years and the RNLI for 37 years.

At the presentation Daphne spoke of how she was proud as a peacock for being honoured in this way and went on to say that it represents the kindness of a lot of people we have here in Littlehampton, where she is very proud to live.

I truly believe Snowy is an inspiration to us all, that despite her circumstances she has got on and achieved so much and I for one am delighted she has been recognised in this way.

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Come the weekend it was time for something a little different and, in all honesty, nerve-wracking for me. Through my connections with various groups in the town and my husband I have had the pleasure of getting to know another wonderful lady, who has not had the easiest of times of recent.

Lorna Haynes, who has a love of music and has performed with the Edwin James Festival Choir and Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society, had been in touch with me some time ago to ask if I would take part in a charity concert she was organising for the Alzheimer’s Society in honour of her husband, who is now bed-bound due to a rare form of dementia.

While I am sure we would all do anything for our partners I know how difficult it can be for people who are having to be carers and to not lose sight of themselves. Lorna really has had to change her life to care for her husband, and with help from her friends and family has managed to keep her sense of humour and also very importantly make a little time for herself.

I have never been able to perform as myself, I simply do no not have the confidence to do so, however my drag alter ego Miss Daniella Dream was never scared of being in the limelight.

However, around 18 months ago, due to an incident she disappeared for good – or at least I thought she had. But as it was Lorna, I could not refuse and so agreed that Daniella would come back for one night only.

Believe it or not this was extremely difficult for me to do as I swore that she would not be seen again, however I am pleased to say that on the night I was unable to attend Lorna’s concert, but Daniella was there in high heels and gold sequins, and was chuffed to be welcomed so warmly by the full audience at St James Church.

As well as my couple of solos the concert included a mixture of numbers from musical theatre and operas performed by friends of Lorna all coming together to support her, with some having never performed in public before.

I would like to say a huge well done to everyone who took part on the night and to Lorna for raising more than £1,700.

Perhaps when you’re next faced with adversity and cannot see how you can achieve what you want to, take a moment and think of people like Snowy and Lorna who, despite different situations, have been able to achieve so much with a little help from family, friends and people around them.

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