BREAST CANCER CARE
Celebs Raise Awareness at Glittering Catwalk Show
Report by Rob Chilton
Tears and cheers greeted the 21 beast cancer survivors as they glided down the catwalk at as fashion show to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. An incredibly emotional standing ovation from the crowd, which included the Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Booth, Louise Redknapp, Lisa Snowdon and Kirsty Gallacher, capped an unforgettable evening.
TV presenters Brian Dowling and Gail Porter hosted the event, now in its seventh year, at the Park Lane Hilton in London. After the fashion show Gail said: “I have never seen a fashion show like that in my life!” Carol Vorderman took care of the afternoon show, wearing a beautiful Donna Karan cashmere wrap dress and Donna Karan shoes. She was inspired by the women on the catwalk: “These women love life and have incredible energy. They’re so brave to go on a catwalk in underwear – I’d never do that. I strut about in my bedroom, but not on a catwalk!”
Cherie Booth, the patron of Breast Cancer Care, said the charity’s fashion show is one of her favourite evenings of the year. In a Lindka Cierach brocade evening dress, topped with a beaded evening coat, Cherie said she was amazed by the women on the catwalk: “These women are a real inspiration to us all; they can do anything. They can get through cancer and still emerge triumphant.” She raised laughs in the crowd by saying: “These women are braver than me; you’d never get me on the catwalk in my underwear!” Cherie went on: “My Aunt Audrey died from breast cancer aged 52. She was diagnosed at 48, the age I am now. Because of her I feel so passionately about Breast Cancer Care. Tonight we’re celebrating life after breast cancer.”
Designers who contributed clothes for the show included Ben de Lisi, Betty Jackson, Catherine Walker, Julien Macdonald, Paul Smith, Ronit Zilkha and Zandra Rhodes. Shell UK sponsored the wine served at the sumptuous dinner and Swarovski made sure that every table glittered by kindly offering to decorate the tables with crystals.
The evening show was a joint affair with hosts Gail and Brian doing a fantastic job. The pair revealed to OK! that they’d never met before that night. “We’ve bonded over a glass of champagne,” laughed Brian. “I’m sure we’ll be fine. Gail’s the professional here. No one’s going to hunt us down if we get things wrong.” Brian wore a Gucci suit and shoes and Thomas Pink shirt. The Irish host said it was a special night for him. “I’ve supported Breast Cancer Care for a long while so I’m honoured to be here. I was very flattered to be asked.”
TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher supports Breast Cancer Care after her friend, the Sky News presenter Fiona McDiarmid, died from the disease in August 2002. “Fiona and I used to sit in the make-up chairs at Sky and talk about what she was going through,” remembers Kirsty. “She was 40 when she died and I was 27 – that really hit me. We thought she was going to pull through but she didn’t.” Kirsty, in a gorgeous Gabrielle Strenesse frock, was chuffed to meet Cherie Booth: “It’s wonderful that she’s so passionate about this charity.
”The auction was hosted by the irrepressible Christopher Biggins and raised £90,000. Philip Green, director for Bhs and the Arcadia Group Limited which sponsored the entire event, generously made the figure up to £100,000. Cherie offered up a tennis match with her husband Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, for which Philip paid £25,000. Geri Halliwell donated the dress she wore to the premiere of Bridget Jones’s Diary that went for £1,600. A pearl and diamond necklace and earrings donated by Japanese jewellers Mikimoto, that were worn by model and TV presenter Lisa Snowdon on the night, raised £41,000,
Lisa looked beautiful in a crimson Ghost dress and Gina shoes and said wearing the £10,000 necklace made her feel “a million dollars”. She said: “My family and I have been affected by breast cancer. We need to spread awareness of breast cancer – knowledge is power.” The catwalk queen had advice for the novice models: “Deep breath, smile, shoulders back and go for it!”
TV actor and Lily Savage performer Paul O’Grady attended the show to support his friend, actress Amanda Mealing, who had a mastectomy last year. Paul told OK! he and Amanda met while performing in a play together 15 years ago. He said they were crucial factors in helping each other overcome medical obstacles. Paul, godfather to Amanda’s son, said: “Amanda had breast cancer at the same time as I had a heart attack. She’s a tough, gutsy lady who never moaned once - unlike me!”
Carol Vorderman said her mother being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January forced her to rethink her own life. “It was really awful but she had a hysterectomy and she’s fine now. It makes you think about the bigger picture. I worked six days a week for 20 years and I thought, why? I made a decision last year to change things. Now I work just three days a week. I see my kids all the time and I’ve never been happier.