Memorial parade sets resort prom awash with colour

A convoy of around 60 vans Drive through the Blackpool Illuminations to raise money for the British Heart Foundation
A convoy of around 60 vans Drive through the Blackpool Illuminations to raise money for the British Heart Foundation
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A daughter organised a glowing tribute for her late stepmother in the form of 70 illuminated vans travelling in convoy along Blackpool Promenade.

Anne-Marie Appleton, 25, decided to set up the fundraising spectacle in aid of the British Heart Foundation after her stepmother Denise Appleton died from sudden a heart attack in January.

A convoy of around 60 vans Drive through the Blackpool Illuminations to raise money for the British Heart Foundation

A convoy of around 60 vans Drive through the Blackpool Illuminations to raise money for the British Heart Foundation

Thousands of spectators who had turned out to see the World famous Blackpool Illuminations were given the added treat of seeing the brightly lit convoy on Saturday.

Drivers of the vans had travelled hundreds of miles from different parts of the country to take part.

Anne-Marie from Liverpool, said: “I’m really happy and I can’t thank the people of Blackpool enough for their generosity.

“It was amazing. There must have been thousands of people watching on the street and from pubs and restaurants.”

Van drivers and passengers who drove a convoy of around 60 vans through the Blackpool Illuminations to raise money for the British Heart Foundation

Van drivers and passengers who drove a convoy of around 60 vans through the Blackpool Illuminations to raise money for the British Heart Foundation

The ‘Vans With Light’ event raised more than £3,000 for the life-saving charity, with £730 coming from fundraising buckets on the night - smashing their initial goal of just £500.

The vans and lorries took to Starr Gate on Blackpool Promenade and travelled along the seafront.

This is the second time the convoy, put together by Anne-Marie’s partner James Comish, has completed a run for charity.

Anne-Marie said: “It was equally as bright as the Illuminations.

“There must have been thousands of lights.”

The British Heart Foundation was chosen as the beneficiary of Mrs Appleton’s memorial convoy, because she was a dedicated supporter of the charity and helped publicise the Vans With Light 2014 event.

She left behind a husband, two daughters and two stepdaughters.

Anne-Marie said: “Denise worked really hard on the event last year.

“My dad says she would have been really proud of what we have achieved.

“I think she would have loved the vans.

“I want to help other people suffering from life-threatening heart conditions because I don’t want any other families to have to go through what we have.”

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, with more than 73,000 people dying from the disease each year.

Around one in six men and one in 10 women die from heart disease.

Convoy leader James Comish, 23, spent hundreds of pounds decorating his van.

He said: “We wanted to help people with heart conditions cope with it the best we can. If we can help even one person then it’s worth every penny.”