400 have a ball in bid to beat cancer

Denise Dunn  Picture: Andrew Roe
Denise Dunn Picture: Andrew Roe
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More than 400 people flocked to a glittering fundraising charity ball in a bid to defeat cancer.

Guests donned their finery for the Equinox Ball, staged at Doncaster Deaf Trust, to bring in funds for Cancer Research UK and local cancer charity Firefly.

Among those offering his support was Doncaster pop sensation Louis Tomlinson, who texted midway through the event to pledge £500 to funds.

The event was organised by Doncaster business couple Paul and Sarah Mullen who have first-hand experience of the disease – Paul lost both his parents to cancer within two weeks of each other last summer, and Sarah’s mum also died from the illness.

Paul said: “Sarah and I were determined to raise as much money as possible for these two very deserving charities, both of which rely on public donations.

“Cancer is a terrible disease that seems to affect every family and the support on the night was overwhelming.”

Paul said Louis Tomlinson’s text was ‘something that left us openmouthed’.

“Louis had been very generous already in donating signed One Direction goodies, but to receive a cheque and a message is incredible, especially when he’s so busy in America at the minute,” he added.

The ball was hosted by Capital FM breakfast show DJs JoJo and Danny and guests bid for a number of exclusive auction prizes, including holidays, to raise funds.

A VIP weekend in Monaco with Formula One mogul Eddie Jordan drew in a whopping £10,000 bid, while a 60ins Sony Bravia TV, seven-night all-inclusive ski holiday, and a diamond pendant were also auctioned off.

Guests could also buy raffle balloons to land prizes such as a hamper from Bawtry Bon Bons, Yorkshire Wildlife Park family passes, a £50 voucher for Robinsons of Bawtry, and meal vouchers for Relish – with guests popping balloons to find out if they had won or not.

The night raised just over £38,000.

Paul added: “Sarah and I can’t believe it. The people of Doncaster really did dig deep and showed just how generous us Yorkshire people really are. We want to make it an annual event so watch this space next year!”

The story of the Firefly Express - Denise’s transport legacy lives on after her passing

One of the charities boosted by the Equinox Ball was the Firefly Express, set up by inspirational cancer victim Denise Dunn.

Denise, who worked tirelessly to provide transport for cancer patients, died earlier this year.

Denise, of Barnby Dun, worked with Aurora, before setting up the Firefly group in 2005 – a year after she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

Firefly provides free shuttle bus services to hospitals in Sheffield, where patients often have to go for regular treatment.

Today, the unique Doncaster-based charity is a lifeline to patients undergoing regular gruelling treatments and daughter Gemma has pledged to continue the work.