Nacoa’s 25 year anniversary Gala was an evening of celebration which touched the hearts and inspired everyone to pledge support to children of alcoholics, to alleviate their loneliness, and reassure the fearful that they are not alone. With music from Brunel’s Quartet, Henry Maybury and The Bristol Hornstars, the evening was interspersed with messages of support, including Patron Elle Macpherson, who was unable to attend and delivered by distinguished actress Cherie Lunghi:
“I am a proud Patron of this tiny but effective charity – a charity which puts people at the heart of all they do and believe in – a charity which provides a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable and invisible children in the UK today.
Nacoa is not a fashionable charity – it dares to talk about problems faced by children when their parents are unable to care for them. It takes special courage to speak about these things, and Nacoa provides an anonymous and safe place for as long as needed – with a promise to always care.”
“We’re here tonight to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of a charity which does not spend time courting the headlines. Instead it prefers to work quietly and patiently, doing the most extraordinary job creating an emotional and spiritual place of safety for those who grow up in homes where alcohol is a problem.
Since 1990 Nacoa has responded to over 267,000 calls. The statistics are truly amazing but there is something more important than numbers: the individuals who need help and support and those who provide it. Nacoa volunteers the most compassionate group of people, which is why children feel so at home with the helpline – a service, which is freely given by people who truly care.
Tonight is our opportunity to pledge our support so together we can continue to provide this safe haven so these so often invisible children know they are not alone.”
Calum Best and Jake Wood who were unable to attend also sent messages of support and pledged their help so today’s children have the support that they did not have.
The Rt. Hon. Liam Byrne MP described his speech as the most difficult thing he’d ever done, speaking movingly about his own experience and his determination to ensure that every single child, every single one of the estimated 2.6 million living in the UK with parents who drink too much, would know that this is not their fault, they are not to blame and they are not alone. Nacoa is here to help them.
The Gala was the brainchild of volunteers Courtenay Pipkin and Chris Heffernon who together with a team of talented helpers created the evening’s event programme and auction catalogue. This magical evening, held at Brunel’s Old Station in Bristol, enjoyed online and live auctions presided over by the charismatic Jamie Breese, encouraging the bids to flow. The plethora of prizes included a personal wellness kit from from Elle Macpherson, Cherie Lunghi’s signed dance shoes from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, tickets to Strictly Come Dancing’s Live Tour and Dynamo’s sold out London show, a visit to the Queen’s Royal Stud at Sandringham and artwork created on the night by Upfest’s urban artist greats, Inkie and Rob Wass and an original piece ‘Summer Days’ by SPQR.
The Gala embraced the essence of Nacoa which always puts children struggling with their parent’s alcohol problems at the heart of all we do. In the midst of great joy of having so many of the Nacoa community gathered together, the 2.6 million children of alcoholics in the UK today were constantly in our thoughts. Together, we will continue to make a difference in their lives.