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January 23 2015.

Samantha Cameron hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street for Charity Champions last week. Conservative MPs and parliamentary candidates from across the South of England and Wales nominated two guests from their constituencies who they considered to be Charity Champions to attend a reception in their honour at 10 Downing Street.

Maria Caulfield, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Lewes, nominated Sue Philips from Waifs and Strays Dog Rescue charity in Seaford and Brian Goodenough from the NCI Lookout in Newhaven. 

Waifs And Strays Dog Rescue started in 2010 and was originally known as Seaford Dog Rescue, but as they now covers a larger part of East Sussex they have changed their name. Their core work is to take in unclaimed strays and rehabilitate and arrange any veterinary care. They then work hard to find a suitable home, with the invaluable help of their amazing team of volunteers, a network of foster homes, fundraisers, home checkers and transporters. There are on average, around 1000 strays a year, in the East Sussex area alone, 80-90% of these, are reunited with their owners thanks to Waifs and Strays (very quickly if they are microchipped). The 10-20% they then take in to re-home.

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is a voluntary organisation set up in 1994 to restore a visual watch along UK shores after many small Coastguard stations closed. NCI is a registered charity managed by a board of Trustees with a Constitution agreed by the Charities Commission.  The Newhaven NCI lookout serves as an essential service for the port of Newhaven to keep it safe and viable. The lookout is of value to leisure sailors, fishing boats, swimmers, parascenders and walkers. Brian is one of 60 volunteers there.

Samantha Cameron said: “It was a privilege to meet Sue and Brian at 10 Downing Street. Their amazing work is changing the lives of individuals and families, particularly in Seaford and Newhaven and it was an honour to celebrate their work at the reception for charity champions.”

Maria said: “I was so pleased to go to Number 10 with Brian and Sue. Waifs and Strays do amazing work locally and having been a judge at one of their dog shows last year I was amazed to see how many people have either fostered or re-homed a dog through them. Sue and her team work tirelessly to keep the charity going. 

"Brian and the NCI Lookout team have a very tough job. I recently visited the Lookout on a particularly tough day when the two men from Brighton were missing at sea. I saw first-hand how those dedicated volunteers at the Lookout make such a difference.” 

Pictured above: Brian Goodenough, Samantha Cameron, Maria Caulfield and Sue Phillips