A former Esher charity is celebrating 175 years at a commemorative event on August 3 at Esher Place.

Shaftesbury Young People is a charity that helps disadvantaged young people into education and employment. They operated Esher Place as a residential home for young girls between 1930 – 1952.

Mrs Susan Gunn, 80, a former resident at Esher Place said: “I can honestly say I had no worries at Esher, I was very happy and content for the years I was at the home.

“It was very important to me and had a tremendous impact on my future. I still tell my grandchildren about it. The skills I left with have been useful for me since. We didn’t know what Shaftesbury were doing at the time but they took care of us. I learnt about the work they did after leaving.”

Mrs Gunn moved to the home at the age of six and lived there until she was 14, when it closed. She was employed by Lady Paget in Kingston Upon Thames for several years, she then went to Norway to work for the British Embassy and spent 8 years in Melbourne, Australia, one of her employers being the Melbourne Orphanage.

She now lives in Birmingham with her husband, who she met in Australia.

Another former resident, Josephine Duffy, was at Esher Place from 1946-52. She spoke about the fondness she holds for it. Mrs Duffy said: “Discipline was tough but fair at Esher and it made me the person I am today. It gave me a good grounding in life and a good set of skills to live by.”

Mrs Duffy had a successful career as a Welfare Officer with the Local Authority for many years and has only recently retired from her charity work.

Both former residents will be guests at the commemorative event on August 3, along with the Deputy Mayor of Elmbridge and Consort.

Sarah Lake, Chief Operating Officer said: “We are turning 175 years old this year and are currently preparing for our Anniversary Event which looks back at our rich history.

“We were established in London in 1843 by William Williams, a solicitor’s clerk who was supported by his patron Lord Shaftesbury to get destitute children off the streets and into education and employment.

“We are immensely proud of our heritage and to have reached this momentous milestone in our history and are looking forward to another 175 years.’

Unite, who currently own the building, are supporting the event by providing the venue, staff, food, complimentary drinks, and two VIP tickets for accommodation and dinner at Esher for the auction.