Having a ball to aid appeal

(left to right) Jacqueline Rhodes, Linda Nolan and Deborah Marr at the Hug in a Bag masquerade ball

(left to right) Jacqueline Rhodes, Linda Nolan and Deborah Marr at the Hug in a Bag masquerade ball

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SOON every single Fylde coast patient diagnosed with breast cancer will be getting an extra special hug.

The heart-warming gift will come courtesy of the Hug in a Bag Blackpool charity.

The charity, set up by Cleveleys resident Deborah Marr and friend Jacqueline Rhodes, held its flagship fundraiser last weekend.

A masquerade ball, at The Hilton Hotel, raised more than £10,000 for the charity.

Hug in a Bag put together special bags containing a variety of items such as beauty, cosmetic and pampering treats, a teddy bear called Hugo, a pashmina and other bits and pieces.

A ‘hug’ stands for Help, Understanding and Glamour.

A bag will be given to every patient diagnosed with breast cancer at the local hospital.

The Hug in a Bag charity was initially set up by three women in Sunderland, who met and supported each other during treatment for breast cancer.

And Deborah and Jacqueline were so inspired and impressed, they wanted to carry on similar work on the Fylde coast, after several friends were diagnosed with the illness.

The ball was opened by Funny Girls, who have chosen to support Hug in a Bag as their charity for the year.

There was also entertainment from Emily Adams and Jennifer Daniels, who provided background musical accompaniment during the meal and local singing group PAAR4, as well as a raffle and auction.

Singer Linda Nolan - herself a breast cancer survivor - is the charity’s patron and also attended.

She said: “I was thrilled with how well the ball went, not just for the charity but for Debbie and Jackie who worked so hard to make the ball the success it was.

“I’m honoured to be a small part of this fabulous charity.”

Deborah said she was delighted with how well the ball had gone.

“We couldn’t have imagined raising such an extraordinary amount of money, especially in these hard times.

“But at a cost of £40 each, we need to raise £12,000 per year to ensure all the 300 people diagnosed every year with breast cancer in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde receive a bag.”

Jacqueline said: “Many people have helped, and it’s thanks to everyone’s generosity with their time, support and of course donations the ball was such a success.

“The best thing for us was – in addition to raising this tremendous amount – everyone had such a brilliant time. People are booking tables for next year already.”

Sue Woodcock, Eileen Richardson and Judith Wright from the Sunderland charity said they were really pleased with the work being done on the Fylde coast.

They said: “Hug in a Bag is so important to us we found it difficult to let go so it was with some apprehension we met Deborah and Jacqueline for the first time. We needn’t have worried!

“They are passionate about Hug and we trust them implicitly. They have amazed us with their hard work, determination and care. They are bringing new ideas and infectious enthusiasm to our project.

“They are truly an amazing pair of new friends to us and we look forward to this being the beginning of a long-lasting friendship and a successful start to Hug in a Bag Blackpool.”

Philip Holmes, business development manager, at Funny Girls, added: “Funny Girls are proud to support Hug in a Bag as their chosen charity for the forthcoming year, the charity provides the unique way to make a difference to people affected by breast cancer. Working with Hug in a bag means we are committing to making a difference to the lives of people effected by breast cancer.”

An official launch of the Hug in a Bag charity is due to take place on November 23, at Funny Girls.