Where to start with this next amazing event? After months of following the star-studded line up and heartbreaking cause I woke up on the day of the ball at 5am. The bank was still not my friend after Christmas but I could not resist any longer! I booked my ticket!! I never was very self-disciplined but I knew it would be worth it this time. Panic sets in though, I had nothing to wear and I know some people spend days/ weeks getting prepped for these kinds of events. Luckily the organiser had put on celebrity hair and make-up artists for guests attending. Time to negotiate a slot with these already busy ladies. Luckily they took pity on me and squeezed me in. Nikki Tipping, Dee Marie, Erika Hernandez and Mum Nett I cannot thank you enough for the effort and hard work you put in with me. Next up- the outfit!!! Mad dash to the Trafford Centre with only 3 hours to spare. No easy task!
Luck was on my side and everything fell into place. I got to the ball on time! The venue was the Executive Suite at Manchester United Football Club. I was so very excited. We had red carpet and everything! I could get used to this. I was greeted by the organisers, Karen and Abbey Blake. This event was arranged to launch their charity ESCAPE and raise awareness about the harrowing subject of sexual abuse. Abbey herself was a victim of abuse and bravely took to the stage to tell her story. Their aim is to educate and support children and break the silence of sexual abuse. They want to offer friendly treatment and a healthy environment to those who are suffering with severe mental distress by giving them special care, love, mentoring and support to aid in the healing of their unseen wounds.
Abbey was also joined by other speakers who shared their stories with us. Fay Louise Purdham, Chris Tuck, Philip Lafferty and Daniel Wolstencroft you have my full respect. To stand up into front of hundreds of strangers and talk openly about their deepest darkest experiences was the most admirable and heartbreaking experience I think I had ever seen. If it gives strength and hope to even one person who is suffering to speak out and seek help then these amazing people have achieved so much. If you want to see the speakers stories they are available on-line. They are hard to hear and can stir up a range of emotions but I highly recommend you take a few minutes out and see how far they have come despite what they have been through.
Invited to support the event was a whole host of celebrities. The room was brimming with stars who gave up their time to help raise awareness and promote the charity. Some performed for us and some donated fabulous prizes for the auction and raffle. These included a HIFU face lift donated by Real Housewives of Cheshire star Dawn Ward, who attended with many of her celebrity friends and her singer daughter Darby who gave us an amazing performance. Also up for grabs was a personalised tour around the new set at Coronation Street by Kym Marsh and Simon Gregson. They were also accompanied by their co-stars Dolly Rose Campbell, Julia Goulding and Chris Harper. Chris is currently involved in the current grooming storyline with Bethany Platt. He hopes to raise awareness around sexual exploitation and encourage more people to come forward.
Also in attendance was last years Big Brother winner, Jason Burrill, who incidentally was sat on my table- next to me!! Just had to get that out there…… He was the perfect gentleman and we all had great laughs with him. He came with his friends Maria Patricia, who can be seen on channel 5 documentary tattoo fixers and her husband Colin. She also runs a very successful clinic specialising in laser tattoo removal, hair removal and Botox. I certainly was sat on the best table!
Hosting the event was the very glamorous Mary Louise Chandler, who introduced all the speakers and acts and kept things flowing smoothly. We were treated to performances from several X- Factor stars including Thomas Bleasby– a very funny lad who had us in stitches all night, Lucy Spraggen, Tre Amici, Nicolas McDonald, Melanie Williams, Coral Roberts and Nicola Marie. Each one delivered an outstanding show and truly gave it their all. Everyone was in awe at the amount of talent we had under one roof.
Last but not least my very talented friend Yvette Royle was up to close the night. She had the whole room dancing and singing along with her and it was the perfect end to a fantastic night! Yvette is no stranger to the stage and has performed at Dawn Wards Creme de la Creme ball and Denise Welch’s black tie event to name a few. She’s holding her own event on the 24th February if you’d like to see her in action again, it will be another fun-filled night not to be missed. Her special guests will be attending with her and she will be holding a luxury raffle with some fantastic prizes to raise money for two local charities CAFT- Childrens Adventure Farm Trust and Jen’s Last Wish.
I thoroughly enjoyed attending the event, the support the charity received from everybody was phenomenal. I wish you all the very best of luck with your journey and look forward to attending next years ball.