Kids surprise parents with Valentine’s Day party

Margaret Cunningham serves treats, to mums and children, at the Farland Way community centres  Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS005
Margaret Cunningham serves treats, to mums and children, at the Farland Way community centres Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS005

Children in the Hazelbank area of Derry organised a surprise Valentine’s Day party for their parents to show how much they love them.

The party was the brainchild of Margaret Cunningham, Habinteg Housing Farland Way Community Support Worker.

Friends Madison Houston (8) and Chantelle McCauley (8) were at the Farland Way community centre's Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS003

Friends Madison Houston (8) and Chantelle McCauley (8) were at the Farland Way community centre's Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS003

Margaret gathered the children at the local community centre to give their parents a bit of time to themselves on Valentine’s Day.

The children created Valentine’s cards and messages for their mothers and fathers and helped volunteers create a lavish and romantic Valentine’s setting for the ‘What Are Dreams Made Of?’ themed afternoon tea party to surprise them on their return.

Speaking at the centre, Margaret said: “I organised it just so the parents can get something back.

“I just thought whenever my children were small I didn’t have baby sitters because I lived in Belfast, so I know what it was like not being able to get out at times.

Four year-old Anna Deehan made a beautiful card for her mum Avril at the Farland Way community centre's Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS002

Four year-old Anna Deehan made a beautiful card for her mum Avril at the Farland Way community centre's Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS002

“I love working with the children up here anyway and none of them are shy with me anymore because of running events, and I just thought, ‘let’s do something for Valentine’s Day’, let the mum and dad go off for romantic time or if there is a single mum, to have a bit of quality time to herself.”

Margaret praised the volunteers who helped with love letters and Valentine’s cards, ‘which carried messages based on what parents had told their children such as ‘I love you to the moon and back’ and ‘I love you more’.

The messages were used to decorate a Valentine’s Day tree, while the cards were given to the mammies and daddies.

She said the response from parents was great. “They all loved it,” Margaret said.

Five year-old Myleigh Houston pictured with her Valentines Day rose at the Farland Way community centres  Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS004

Five year-old Myleigh Houston pictured with her Valentines Day rose at the Farland Way community centres Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS004

Parent Ciara Campbell, whose daughter Ella (9) was among the children who attended, said it was a lovely surprise when the parents returned to pick up their children.

“It was excellent and it was good to have time on your own too.

“It’s exciting for the children as well, they were making wee things, and Margaret is great with the children.”

Paul Houston, whose children Madison (8) and five-year-old Myleigh also attended, said he was surprised to see the spread that had been laid on for the parents. He added: “It was great today to get a bit of time.

Sarah Murphy with daughter Ollie (1) and son Colum (11) at the Farland Way community centre's Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS001

Sarah Murphy with daughter Ollie (1) and son Colum (11) at the Farland Way community centre's Valentines Day childrens party. DER0717GS001

“It is brilliant what they do in here and Margaret is great with the children.”

Taylor Murphy (11) celebrates St Valentines Day at the Farland Way community centre  childrens party. DER0717GS006

Taylor Murphy (11) celebrates St Valentines Day at the Farland Way community centre childrens party. DER0717GS006