SHARON Harrison is a busy woman. She runs a her own parents’ support charity and oversees four successful businesses – while raising a family and planning a wedding.

Sharon, 43, from Maylandsea, near Maldon, is the owner of Stay and Play, based in Durham Road, Laindon, and also runs two day nurseries in Laindon and one in Wickford .

She set up her charity, Snake (Special Needs Activities for Kids in Essex) in February last year to help mothers in a similar situation to her.

Daughter Holly, 17, suffers from global developmental delay which causes severe learning difficulties and means she is unable to carry out or understand simple tasks such as telling the time.

When Holly was just a baby, Sharon knew there was “something wrong” with her, but struggled to get anyone to heed her concerns.

It also took her many years before she realised Holly’s condition meant she could claim disability living allowance and the help of a social worker.

She said: “I wanted to do something to help other parents going through what I did.

“We really want to push it now and I will be applying to Basildon Council for funding.”

Sharon runs a closed session for children with special needs at Stay and Play every Monday afternoon and is also hoping to produce a handy guide for parents like her, explaining some of the issues they may face with their children. On top of her businesses and her work with Snake, Sharon is also kept busy being mum to Holly, along with daughter, Ebony, 20, and son, Mathieu, six – and planning her wedding to fiance Stephen Watson next May.

She said: “I just want to let the charity go where it needs to go. It’s something which wasn’t there when I needed it. I could’ve really done with someone giving me some proper advice.

“Having a child with special needs is a drain.

“I know that sounds awful, but to know someone is going through the same thing, is all you need to hear sometimes.

“People ask me where I get my energy. All I can say is I just want to make a difference.”

For more information about the charity, Snake, visit