Wedding dress ball in Reigate to raise money for charity
A DEVOTED daughter is asking businesses and brides to get behind a wedding dress ball.
Claire Blay is holding two charity balls to raise money for Brain Tumour UK and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity after her mum Lis Shrewsbury was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour earlier this year.
"Mum and dad celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary in February. We had a big party at the Reigate Manor Hotel with their bridesmaids and my 89-year-old gran," said Mrs Blay, 33. "Just three days after that we found out. That was the bombshell."
"Mum was diagnosed with a grade-four aggressive tumour," she added. "It was totally unexpected. She had been a bit shaky on her left hand side, so she had gone to the doctor."
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Mrs Blay, who now lives in Aylesbury, grew up in Reigate. Her 65-year-old dad Buz was a police officer, based mainly at Godstone, for more than 30 years and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Reigate for more than 10 years.
Mrs Shrewsbury, 64, was secretary to the head teacher at St Bede's School in Redhill for more than a decade. The family have lived in Hartswood Road, Reigate, for 34 years.
Mrs Shrewsbury underwent brain surgery but it was unsuccessful. She is currently on her second round of chemotherapy.
"It was a huge shock at the beginning and it was all very stiff upper lip. We will get through this together – we are a tight family, and we will be fine, and that is how we have been carrying on," said Mrs Blay.
"Speaking to people, everyone knows someone who has been affected by a brain tumour, but less than two per cent of cancer research funding is spent on brain tumours."
Mrs Blay, a mum-of-two who married husband Thomas two years ago, has poured her energy into organising two charity wedding dress balls where brides can rewear that special gown.
"You pay a lot of money for your dress, it takes months to perfect and then you wear it for about 12 hours," she said.
"I had wanted to do it for a while, but I didn't have a charity in mind.
"So when this happened I thought, this is it; the charity has come to me."
Proceeds of the Reigate ball being held at the Reigate Manor Hotel on September 29, will go to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and those from a second event in Aylesbury will go to Brain Tumour UK.
Anyone interested in going, or any businesses who would like to donate prizes, can get more information and contact Mrs Blay by going to www.wearwhite4charity.co.uk