Fancy dress ball is a recipe for breast cancer success

Nicola Brown, professor of Oncology receives a cheque from Michele (l) and Barbara France who have raised �4701 through fancy dress parties. Picture: Andrew Roe

Nicola Brown, professor of Oncology receives a cheque from Michele (l) and Barbara France who have raised �4701 through fancy dress parties. Picture: Andrew Roe

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Take two women, add a couple of hundred party-goers and some extraordinary fancy dress costumes...

It is a recipe for success that has enabled Michelle and Barbara France to raise thousands of pounds for breast cancer research with fancy dress parties.

More revellers at the Breast Cancer Ball

More revellers at the Breast Cancer Ball

And it shows no signs of coming to an end anytime soon.

Every year the sister-in-laws organise a fancy dress party at Sheffield Hallam University Hubs venue, on Paternoster Row, to raise funds for breast cancer research at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

This year the women raised £4,701 at their 15th ball – bringing their grand total to more than £85,000.

The money raised goes towards the France Scholarship, set up in 2013, which pays for students to take a year out of university to study breast cancer.

More revellers at the Breast Cancer Ball

More revellers at the Breast Cancer Ball

Sheffield Hallam University provides use of the Hubs as a free venue because Michelle, aged 57, and 58-year-old Barbara, from Sothall, work at the university as catering assistants.

Michelle, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her charity work in 2012, said: “A big thank you to everyone who bought tickets or made donations.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.

“We’ll be doing the same again next year.”

The women decided to start their charity work after Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997.

Michelle said: “We started the event as a one-off. Barbara suggested organising it as a way of saying thank you to the doctors. It was such a success that people were coming up to us asking us when the next one was.

“It has become one of the biggest fancy dress parties in Sheffield.

“What I went through was a horrendous thing and if we can stop anyone going through that, then it’s a job well done.”