A CHARITY group dedicated to helping children with Down's syndrome has celebrated its 15th birthday.

A party to mark the occasion welcomed 75 children of families previously and presently supported by Sparkles. Singing Hands, which runs baby and toddler signing sessions, entertained children of all ages with their songs, stories and rhymes which they accompany with Makaton, a signing language.

The hall was decorated with colourful helium balloons, one of the dads set up his music gear to DJ and there was an abundance of party food up for grabs, plus a cupcake and a party bag for every child. Andrea McEvoy, chair of the charity said: "It was an amazing sight - a true example of a group of people with a common cause pulling together to support their children’s needs."

Sparkles began in May 1999 with a circle of parents living in High Wycombe who had children with Down’s syndrome. Keen to provide the children with specialist speech therapy, they banded together to fund private weekly therapy. As the group grew, they moved out of their lounge and into hall, becoming a charity in partnership with South Bucks Downs Syndrome Group.

Today, Sparkles supports 22 children from all over Bucks with speech therapy sessions in High Wycombe and Aylesbury.

Any families wishing to contact the group for speech therapy for their pre-school child with Down’s syndrome should do so via the website - sessions are not drop in, they are timetabled and follow academic topics termly.

Tomorrow night the charity will hold a fundraising Roaring Twenties Night at The White Hill Centre in Chesham. Tickets cost £20 including entry prize draw, food and a welcome drink with amazing raffle and auction items, plus music from The Charleston Charlies.

For more information go to www.sparkles.org.uk