Red carpet ball in memory of dedicated Burnley nurse raises £3,000

A charity ball, held in memory of a much loved and well known Burnley nurse, raised the grand total of £3,000 for Pendleside Hospice.

Family, friends, former colleagues and schoolpals of Karen Archer, who died last year at the age of 61, after a five year battle against cancer, gathered for the red carpet event at the James Hargreaves suite at Burnley Football Club.

Guests enjoyed a hot supper and disco and there was a raffle and auction. Organised by Karen's daughter, Vickie Wilson, the ball was the first time many of Karen's friends had been together since her funeral in November.

Vickie said: "It was a wonderful evening, so emotional yet so great for everyone to get together."

Vickie with her son Henry and Lauren Saddington (left) as Elsa from More Than Just A Princess and the Little Mermaid. (photo by Amanda at Image Bureau)

And with the £4,000 she has received through sponsorshp a skydive she is planning with a group of friends this brings to the total raised for the hospice to a fabuous £7,000.

Vickie, who was joined by her brother Wayne Lord and her little boy Henry (five) was honouring one of her mum's last wishes to hold the ball to help those who have lost someone to celebrate their lives.

And the response to this left Vickie overwhelmed as people she had only met in the last few months went along to the event.

These included widower Michel Sautejeau whose attendance at the ball was the first time he had been at a social gathering since he lost his wife Anna-Marie. Also there was Barrowford taxi driver Zaki Waker who went along with his family to celebrate the life of his grandmother who died at the age of 6o..

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Karen Archer pictured here with her son Wayne and little grandson Henry

Vickie said: "This was exactly what mum would have wanted, people coming together to have a good night."

Vickie created a special Shining Stars Wall for people to post photographs of relatives they have lost. In a moving gesture Vickie also donated several tickets to people who have been experiencing difficult times in their lives recently.

The compere for the evening was Jeff Brown and vocalist Gavin Young entertained guests.

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As Vickie was inundated with so many items for the raffle she held a draw on the night and also two live draws on social media. One of the top prizes was a PS4 donated by Liam Murray and Andy Mattinson who will also be joining Vickie for the sky dive along with her friend, Kelly Johnson.

Vickie at the ball with Michel Sautejeauwho went along to celebrate the life of his wife Anna-Marie

Also helping Vickie to organise the night were her mum's best friend, Paul Kyme, who made a set of angel wings designed by artists Jane E Richmond and Lorraine Keifer for people to have their photographs taken next to.

During her career Karen worked as a diabetic specialist at Burnley General Hospital before she became a paediatric sister at Nuffield Private Hospital in Leeds. Karen was lauded for her dedication to her role and still features on posters promoting the hospital.

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Tilly Buckel, who was one of Karen's first patients, was also at the ball and she is now one of Vickie's best friends.

Ben Morton, who is the founder of the care agency Me To You also attended the the ball, donated a prize and has since offered Vickie employment with his company.

Karen, who was a student at the former St Hilda's RC High School in Burnley, still continued to work even after her cancer diagnosis and subsequent rounds of chemotherapy.

She remained cheerful, positive and upbeat and was given a new lease of life when Henry was born.