What does the date of the 18th February mean to you?
The 18th February may mean a lot of things to many people. For example, the 18th February 1930 was the date that the planet Pluto was discovered and the 18th February 1933 was the birthdate of legendary football manager, Sir Bobby Robson. However, the 18th February 2012 will be remembered very fondly by Manchester and families suffering from bereavement for years to come as the official launch of respite charity, Once Upon a Smile in conjunction with the Gavin Blyth Memorial Ball.
A plethora of stars from TV soaps to X Factor, joined forces to create an aurora across Manchester, displaying true ‘Blyth Spirit’ & helping raise in excess of £25k. Fans clambered outside Manchester’s Hilton on Deansgate to snatch glimpses of the stars on their red carpet arrival. The event attracted over 75 celebrities and guests were astounded as the event plunged into darkness and the cast of ‘Annie’,
currently on production at ‘West Yorkshire Playhouse’, burst into song with ‘The Sun’ll come out Tomorrow’, a performance which set the tone of the evening and the charity.
Compere of the evening, Mr Vince Miller, (father of charity co-founder, Danny Miller) sent the room into a frenzy as he announced one lucky guest had won a five star holiday to Tenerife courtesy of Aspira Travel — hidden under their seat!
Peter Dickson (infamous voice of the X Factor) introduced the stars, starting with X Factor’s Johnny Robinson who aroused the audience with a deliciously decadent rendition of Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, followed by Kitty Brucknell whipping up a storm with ‘Live & Let Die’; all rather apt for a memorial. However, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the beautiful Kym Marsh performed Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’.
But the show had only just begun, with ex Savage Garden front man Darren Hayes hypnotising the audience with an enchanting acoustic version of ‘Truly Madly Deeply’, followed by his latest single ‘Bleeding Heart’.
Emmerdale stars Dominic Brunt, Sian Reese-Williams and Tom Lister headed up the band ‘Edna’s Hat’ with their cover of ‘Mumford and Sons’ being one of Gavin’s personal favourites. And finally, the beautiful Kelly Llorenna got everyone in the mood for partying with her 90’s classic ‘Set you free’ followed by Radio 1 Extra DJ Roll Deep.
Auction and raffle prizes included a holiday to Mauritius, BA flights to New York, villas in Marbella, a stay at the Holbeck Gyhll and beautiful watches and time pieces donated by Paccioni, whilst ‘Art Deco’ sponsored all hair and make-up for the event, ensuring all guests were given full VIP treatment.
Paul Cheetham, partner in Sedulo and proud patron of Once Upon A Smile, said “The event was incredible! It was really great to see a fantastic turnout and is no less than these guys deserve for the fantastic work they have already put into the charity. I’m sure Once Upon A Smile will go from strength to strength”.
Photographs from the event will soon be available on www.onceuponasmile.org.uk or check our Twitter feed and we will tweet the best ones.