Sussex mothers, Vicki Harper and Charlotte Moore, were recognised at the prestigious Sussex Women of the Year Lunch held at the American Express Community Stadium last month week

Vicki’s son Sam, aged 8 and a pupil at Chailey Heritage School, has a rare genetic disorder CDKL-5, which affects only 300 boys globally.  As part of his condition, he has severe epilepsy and needs one-to-one care at all times.  Vicki spoke at the lunch, that aims to honour and share achievements of women across Sussex, about family life with Sam and her husband, Alec and other two children, and about what a difference Chailey Heritage has made to their lives.  Charlotte also spoke movingly about living with her two autistic sons who are now in their 20s.

Kelly Connolly and Dawn Whittaker of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

“Chailey Heritage is integral to our lives and Sams wellbeing,” says Vicki. “The professionals that work there are dedicated to providing Sam with the best care and therapy for his complex needs.  He has already built up great core strength through horse riding sessions and hydrotherapy and is learning to use the Eyegaze technology, which allows him to track his eye movements to communicate and play games. It is an amazing place with some fantastic facilities and with a team of people who are committed to making sure that every young person reaches their full potential.”

Maureen Chowen, High Sheriff of East Sussex, who spoke at the lunch, said: “It has been a super afternoon meeting old friends, colleagues and new ladies from all around Sussex who have made contributions to the county.  Today has been an opportunity to bring everyone together at the same time and to support Chailey Heritage Foundation, a well-deserved local Charity, which, as Vicki told us, makes such a difference to the lives of young people with complex needs.”

The annual lunch aims to recognise women’s extraordinary achievements and contributions to Sussex and this year’s lunch supports Chailey Heritage Foundation. To find out more or to donate, please visit