A CHARITY founded by Dame Vera Lynn is marking her 100th birthday with the launch of a fundraising campaign.
The Cuckfield-based organisation supports children with cerebral palsy and other motor learning difficulties.
It is calling on schools, community groups and businesses to help it raise £10,000 for a “magic carpet” device.
This projects moving images onto surfaces which youngsters can engage and play with using various controls, including their own touch.
The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity is hoping the #VERA100 campaign will attract wide attention as it coincides with Dame Vera’s birthday next month.
Clifford Dann, which is based in Ditchling where Dame Vera lives, is the first company to get involved in the fundraising effort.
It is holding a coffee morning and prize draw on March 8 to win two tickets to the Dame Vera Lynn tribute concert in London next month.
Andrew Worrell from Clifford Dann said: “As a parent I think the work the charity does is essential and the magic carpet will give the children a great way to use all their senses to interact with the world around them.”
The charity’s community fundraiser Nikki Cannon said: “We are extremely grateful for Clifford Dann’s involvement and hope this announcement will encourage more businesses and community groups to work with us.
“People can get involved in whatever way they like, from holding a cake sale, to having a dress down day at work or even organising a quiz.
“Every penny raised will go directly to the campaign so we can buy our magic carpet.
“This equipment enables children to enter an exciting virtual world where they can feed the fish in a pond, scatter leaves in the air and play with the stars.”
Other local businesses have been supporting the charity by volunteering their time to get the new centre ready.
Staff from insurers RSA spent a day painting the walls and Brewers in Haywards Heath gave rollers and paintbrushes.
The Complete Care Shop donated a hoist while money from trusts and foundations has helped buy equipment.
The Weald Theatre Group gave £100 from money raised at its annual pantomime.
Rob Becvar, whose company RBPM Maintenance Solutions has been carrying out work at the centre, finished the decorating in his own time.
The charity recently moved from its former base near Horsham so it could provide more services to children in a wider catchment area.