A DISABILITY charity backed by TOWIE star Debbie Douglas was “stunned” when it was handed £19,000 by a ladies’ golf club.

ELHAP in Roding Lane North, Woodford Bridge, is celebrating 40 years of supporting children and young people with disabilities this year.

After an open day to mark the anniversary raised £4,000 last month, the outdoor adventure playground and activity centre was not expecting another big donation so soon.

But last Tuesday (July 11) head of development Rachel Joseph and long-standing supporter Debbie Douglas were invited to Abridge Golf Club for its Ladies Charity Committee lunch.

The golfers have been hosting fundraising events for ELHAP since autumn last year, but decided to hand over the final cheque in person.

Rachel said: “It really took our breath away. It’s one of the largest donations we’ve received in recent years and is going to have such an impact on our work.

“The financial downturn is really hitting front-line organisations like us hard.

“We’re a lifeline to families with disabled children, but the local community is our lifeline – without their support we will not survive.”

The Only Way Is Essex mum Debbie has fostered around 200 children over the past 20 years and says ELHAP has been her “rock” when looking after youngsters with learning difficulties.

The charity’s next big event will be its sponsored walk on Saturday, September 23.

For more information on how to get involved, see the website or email racheljoseph@elhap.org