‘Everyone’s affected by cancer’ – fundraising manager’s Hitchin masquerade ball for special cause

Lizzie Wilson, Jennifer Bloodworth (back), Ali Orr (front), Laura West

Lizzie Wilson, Jennifer Bloodworth (back), Ali Orr (front), Laura West - Credit: Archant

A former Hitchin Girls’ School pupil whose life has been touched by cancer is organising a charity masquerade ball in the town later this month.

Cancer Research UK regional fundraising manager Ali Orr hopes to raise £8,000 for the cause from the Venetian Masquerade Ball in Hitchin Priory’s marquee on Saturday, May 30.

Ali, 25, formerly of Grove Road, was prompted to help after losing relatives to the killer disease.

She said: “I have the privilege of working for Cancer Research UK as a fundraising manager.

“I really wanted to do something different, a stand-out event to raise money to help beat cancer sooner.

“Four years ago I did a similar ball at the Priory for CLIC Sargent – a charity caring for children with cancer – which went well, so I thought it was time to do another.

“Everyone’s affected by cancer in one way or another, and having lost three grandparents to it – with my brave mum being a cancer survivor – it prompted me to try and beat the £8,000 we raised last time.

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“The interest we’ve had is great – people are coming from as far as Manchester and we’re heading towards a sell-out – but we’ve still got tickets left which you can buy at Jolly Brown on Bucklersbury.

“Masquerade balls are great fun. We’ve got a magician, as well as a famous former England Test Match cricketer – Ronnie Irani – who’ll be holding an auction on the night.

“We’ve got some great prizes including signed cricket shirts, and a signed Arsenal shirt from former player Martin Keown.

“We’ve also got a holiday in Utah courtesy of a colleague who hails from there.

“I’ve even managed to persuade my old schoolfriends from Hitchin Girls’ School to help me out on the night.

“I’ve not chosen my Masquerade Ball mask yet. The strangest one I’ve seen at one of these events was a rubber mask – but it’s probably best not to go there!”

Hannah Brown, owner of vintage store Jolly Brown, said: “It’s a great opportunity to get dressed up.

“We only sell the tickets – it’s Ali who’s doing such an amazing job organising it all for such a great charitable cause.

“I plan to wear a vintage mask. The Hitchin Fashion Show is on during the day but I will go to the ball – if I’m not asleep through exhaustion from the fashion show!”

Tickets are £25 and also available from the Hitchin Initiative offices or by emailing alison.orr@cancer.org.uk.

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