Mum helps raise £80k for son’s spe­cial school

Charity balls prove a big hit

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

A de­voted mother has helped raise a stag­ger­ing £80,000 for her son’s spe­cial school and its “amaz­ing staff ”.

Liza Sch­warz (48) has been putting on Spencer’s charity balls since 2011 - com­bin­ing glam­our, fine din­ing and roar­ing en­ter­tain­ment to sup­port the ‘Out­stand­ing’ rated Phoenix School through­out her son’s ed­u­ca­tion there.

The balls have raised a su­perb £80,000, on top of an­other £20,000 from charity head shaves for other good causes, but hair­dresser Liza from Or­ton Longueville has no plans to slow down as she turns her at­ten­tion to fundrais­ing for her 19-year-old son’s new care home, now that his school­ing has come to an end.

Liza said: “We did the first ball in 2007 - it had about 80 peo­ple. The most we’ve had at any is about 300. We are a dab hand at it now.” Spencer has a rare ge­netic con­di­tion, mean­ing he is like a “19-year-old in a two-year-old’s body”. But that did not stop him from at­tend­ing the fi­nal fundrais­ing ball for the school, and be­ing the star of the show.

Liza re­called: “He is funny and great fun to be around.

“He is non-ver­bal and needs ev­ery­thing do­ing for him, but he is very so­cial.

“He came to the last ball and bombed it around the Show­ground! I had to run af­ter him, but he loved it.”

Liza opened Spencer’s Hair Salon in 2006 and has been giv­ing work place­ments to peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. She is part of a small com­mit­tee of peo­ple who put on the charity balls, which fea­ture three course meals, wine, mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing a ma­gi­cian.

The next one is sched­uled for April 13 at the Hol­i­day Inn, with Un­cle Funk & The Boo­gie Won­der­band booked to per­form. Money raised will now go to Home From Home Care and vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion Cir­cles Net­work.

But, de­spite see­ing her son leave the Phoenix School, Liza has noth­ing but pos­i­tive words for the ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port he re­ceived there.

“The school has been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing for Spencer. I’m a sin­gle par­ent and he can’t have a nor­mal child­min­der come in,” she said.

“The school does af­ter­school class and hol­i­days. The staff are truly amaz­ing. They are very skilled and kind.”

Spencer may now have left his school in Or­ton Gold­hay, but Liza is de­ter­mined to carry on with her charity balls.

She added: “We are go­ing to keep go­ing. It gives me some­thing to do as I’m not car­ing for Spencer at the mo­ment. There’s a gap­ing hole, but all I can ask for is Spencer to be happy, and he is.

“For the charity balls we do not re­ally have to push sales now - peo­ple come to us and want ta­bles. When we did the first one we did not think about the com­mit­ment, did not think of the neg­a­tive side, like if you do not sell tick­ets.

“All the sup­port has been re­ally good from ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing my clients.”

‘He is funny and great fun to be around’ Liza Sch­warz

Spencer and mum Liza (stand­ing be­hind him) at Spencer’s Di­a­mond Ball in March at the Arena

Spencer with his car­ers

Liza and Spencer with Nick Tkaczuk (former gov­er­nor) and Trudy Duffield (head­teacher) from the Phoenix School

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