Abigail Phillips, of Silvertown, didn’t just have one fairy godmother helping to get her to her matric ball… she had hundreds.
The Bridgetown High School pupil’s family didn’t have the money to send her to the ball, but that changed a week before the dance, on Monday September 30, when her grandmother, Evelyn Phillips, 82, found herself among 500 seniors at an event hosted by the City of Cape Town at the Dulcie September (Athlone) civic centre.
At the function, Ms Phillips sang a hymn, thanking God for her blessings. While on stage, and unknown to her, Sharon Lang, chairperson of the Heideveld Seniors’ Forum, told Ward 44 councillor Anthony Moses, about Ms Phillips’s granddaughter.
Mr Moses was so moved by the grandmother thanking God while her family was struggling that he asked the audience to help her.
“It is not standard practice, but I decided to take the microphone and appealed for any donations. The seniors – who themselves don’t have much – just opened their hearts. One lady said she can only contribute R40, and then more and more seniors came to donate money.
“My office assisted by providing her with a dress and shoes, and I bought cooldrink and water from my pocket. Auntie Sharon (Lang) did her hair and make-up for free, and Mymoena Hendricks rented a limousine to take her to her matric ball in style. The photographer and everything else were all provided free-of-charge,” Mr Moses said.
Ms Lang said R1 800 was collected on the day. With this money, the family paid Abigail’s school fees and bought a ticket for the matric ball.
“This is how good God is. The money was just enough to take care of all the necessities. There was R25 change.
“We are very grateful to the seniors for their help. For some of them, it was their last little they had. I would also like to thank all the neighbours for all their assistance. Abigail is a very humble young lady and she deserved all the spoils,” Ms Lang said.
Mr Moses said the City usually held the seniors’ event in December, but this year it was decided to bring the date forward.
“I still can’t get over how we managed to pull this off. I know Abigail will never forget this day,” Mr Moses said.
Elizabeth Phillips, who is a single parent to Abigail and her siblings, was so overcome with emotion, that all she could muster was: “I’m feeling very blessed. I would like to thank everybody who made this day possible.”
Abigail said the kindness and generosity shown to her and her family “means everything to me”.
“This is so amazing. I was so emotional – to think that I could not attend my matric ball. What the seniors did for me is really special, and I want to thank everybody who assisted to make my day memorable,” she said.
Her grandmother, Evelyn Phillips, said: “The Lord made a way. This is a big blessing. My fellow seniors opened their hearts for my granddaughter.
“I am overcome with emotion. This made my heart glad. She is my second grandchild to do matric. I cried with Abigail when we got the good news. The Lord is very faithful. He heard my praise.”