An inspirational Clitheroe couple have visited Goa where they have been sponsoring an orphan for 16 years.
Well-known Raymond and Carol Briggs, of Eshton Terrace, had always thought about offering help to a child from an impoverished backlground.
And it was during a holiday to Goa in 1998 they put this plan into action.
“For years we kept thinking we would like to sponsor or help someone as our own children were growing up,” said Carol (58).
While in Goa the couple learnt about a children’s home which had opened four months previously.
“That night we were walking down the street looking for somewhere to eat and bumped into the lady who was running the home,” Carol said. “She said that as soon as she saw us walking down the road she knew she had to stop and ask if we would like to go to the children’s home. It was like it was meant to be.”
Carol and Raymond (74), who have been married for 40 years and run Ideal Pet Stores in Moor Lane, Clitheroe, were invited to look around Victory House children’s home the next day and were greeted by 28 youngsters being looked after there.
The couple were asked if they would like to sponsor a child.
“Three little girls stood at the front of the class room and the woman who ran the children’s centre said ‘What about little Saku?’
And that’s where it all started,” Carol explained. “We’ve been back every year since she was six/seven years old.”
During that time, the couple have paid for Saku’s education and everything she has needed while growing up.
Orphan Saku’s mother died at the age of three and, when her father remarried, his new wife did not want anything to do with Saku.
Thanks to Carol and Raymond’s influence, Saku, whose father died when she was nine, qualified as a nurse before finding work at a company distributing steel products.
“Saku says she just doesn’t know where she would be without us and tells us she most likely would have ended up on the beach selling,” Carol explained.
“We ring Saku every week or fortnight, and we’ve never known her ask us for money,” said Carol.
“At Christmas we rang her and asked her what she would like for us to fetch over and she just said, ‘you and dad’.”
Raymond and Carol Briggs are well known in Clitheroe through their business in Moor Lane and after running a pet stall on Clitheroe Market for 32 years until they gave this up in 2009.
The couple have two daughters, Paula (35) and Cindy (33) as well as seven grandchildren.
There’s more on this story in the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times