Forget Strictly – for one night only Blackpool’s Goal-den Girls go Gangnam style!
On Thursday night, nine of the Blackpool’s Goal-den Girls – businesswomen, mums and grans in their 50s and 60s – join the professionals on the stage of Funny Girls.
The event marks the finale of Blackpool’s Cash Quest for Carers, a 100-day corporate challenge to raise funds for a Young Carers’ Champion.
The Goal-den Girls will take to the stage to raise funds and awareness ahead of the awards presentation by Carers Trust Fylde Coast Carers Centre at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday – which coincides with the trust’s national Britain’s Best Breakfast event.
Local lady Tricia Ellis appealed for running mates in their 50s when she took on the Edinburgh marathon in 2012 – and the group hasn’t looked back since.
This summer they completed the Coast to Coast walk in aid of charity. They have already had a stage musical penned in their honour by Stephanie Smith, daughter of Michelle Smith, 54, a Goal-den Girl herself and chief executive of Fylde Coast Carers Centre.
So when the Goal-den Girls met In the Pink Leisure founder Basil Newby MBE at the launch of Cash Quest for Carers a star was born…and Phil Holmes, ITP business manager and stage chief, saw it through to reality.
Phil recruited Funny Girls choreographer Dan Bullen, 30, to get the girls into shape. Dan, a former carer himself, was happy to donate his spare time to the Goal-den Girls’ rehearsals on top of preparatory work for the new Funny Girls winter show. He was helped by the newest recruit to the Funny Girls dancers – Patrick O’Malveney, 27, who will be doubling as a Goal-den Girl on Thursday night.
“I know exactly what it means to be a carer,” said Dan, who worked in Las Vegas a dancer prior to coming to Blackpool as a dancer and later choreographer at the world famous Funny Girls in the iconic art deco venue on Dickson Road. “You do it out of love, because you care, not because you have to or because it’s a duty, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m really pleased to be able to help such a great cause – and the Goal-den Girls are fabulous. They put their hearts and souls into it. It’s going to be a real party piece for them and I think they will get a great reception when they join Funny Girls on stage on Thursday. They have promised to dress the part, too…”
With a combined age of well over half a century on stage, the Goal-den Girls lived up to their TV namesakes of old, the original “thank you for being a friend” Golden Girls, and took on one of the toughest dance routines – to resounding cries from Dan of “come on ladies, shake your booty, jiggle those boobies” .
Avril Garrow, 54, said: “My daughters dance – but I’ve got two left feet. And it doesn’t help that I really don’t know my left from my right. I used to know my wedding ring was on my left hand so I’d go in that direction but since the divorce that’s gone, too!”
Carers’ chief Michelle overcame stage fright to throw herself into the routine. “I’d have been happier collecting the money for cash quest for carers on the night.”
And Dan made few concessions for age and proved a tough taskmaster – the girls soon realising that his “just one more time” meant anything but. They rehearsed against a theatrical backdrop of saucy seaside postcards and enjoyed a tour of backstage facilities – and the chance to share the Funny Girls dressing rooms.
Tickets are available in advance or on the night at Funny Girls – and a collection will also be made by both teams, Funny Girls and Goal-den Girls, for the carers’ appeal.
“Without Phil of In the Pink Leisure, and Dan and Patrick, this just wouldn’t have been possible,” says founder Tricia. “It’s going to be wonderful to go on that stage … the next best thing to being a Funny Girl for the night!”
l To see the girls in action at rehearsals visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su5R3eGYZTQ.