A POLICE diver who set up a charity to build an orphanage for tsunami victims is so close to raising her goal of £50,000 that she hopes to turn her next charity bash into a celebration.

Sergeant Gill Williams, 44, is holding a charity summer ball in Court Garden in Pound Lane, Marlow, next month to raise money for her charity Hands Across The Water.

She has already raised £45,153 and with less than £5,000 left to go she hopes her charity will hit its target in time for the event.

She said: "I'm hoping it's going to be a celebration that we will have just touched £50,000 by then."

Sgt Williams worked in Thailand during the aftermath of the tsunami to help in the victim ID process and was so moved by how the disaster affected the lives of the children out there that, after her last visit in September, she decided to set up her own charity to build an orphanage some 50 miles north of Phuket.

The orphanage will provide a permanent home for 30 children who lost everything in the disaster and thanks to the fundraising efforts of both herself and her friends, the orphanage is already built.

She said: "It's just amazing. When I first decided how much I needed to raise it seemed like a long way off but now the end is in sight. The Thai treasury have also donated £42,000 towards the orphanage, which will also act as a day centre for 200 other children who lost relatives in the tsunami. They have absolutely nothing and no one deserves that."

Friends from south Bucks who have helped Sgt Williams achieve her goal include Steve Butler, Steve Hiorns, and Wendy Smith who ran the London Marathon together this year.

Friend Roger Cook also ran the Lochaber Marathon in Scotland.

Together the four runners raised £3,022.

Mr Hiorns, 40, of Digfrith Lane in Cookham Dean, said: "The charity is for something that you can actually see taking shape. We might even go there at Christmas time to meet the children. Gill is really passionate about the whole thing and so when you sit down and talk to her it's hard not to become passionate about it too."

The black tie Hands Across The Water summer ball takes place in Court Garden on July 22. There will be a live band, an auction, and a three-course Thai meal.

For tickets or more information call Ruth Talbot on 07788410278 or email her at ruth@handsacross thewater.org.uk