Fancy dressing the part for Florence fundraising
Tuesday 25th April 2017 @ 14:28 by Tom Greggan
Ashton News Stalybridge

Fundraising has continued apace for Florence Croce and two family friends have gone that extra mile by donning fancy dress EVERY DAY all this month for the Stalybridge toddler.

As previously reported, Florence’s family and friends are frantically fundraising in the hope they may be able to send Florence to America for clinical trials into her rare, life-limiting condition, GM1.

And few people could have done more than Tina Kershaw and Cathryn Bartram, who will spend all thirty days in April in fancy dress. The pair have been showcasing their incredible outfits on the Fundraising for Florence Facebook page, with every day a surprise.

SHE’S NO MUPPET: April 2nd was Kermit the Frog day for Tina!

Explaining how it came about, Tina said: “Jenny (Florence’s mum), Cathryn and I are part of a group of seven girls who were at university together twenty years ago and we’re still really, really close. We’ve helped each other through all the stuff that life throws at you so when we found out about Florence, we were just devastated because we can’t fix it.

“We wanted to do something that would make a massive difference to Jen and Florence’s life. So we came up with this because we weighed up the effort vs the hilarity, we thought that people might feel sorry for us and we thought it would make the most amount of money!”

So far, excluding cash donations, Tina and Cathryn have raised more than £4200 on their Just Giving page, with a revised target of £5000 now set. Cathryn, who lives in Leicestershire, says the response has been ‘overwhelming’.

She said: “We can’t believe how generous people have been, it’s actually quite humbling. My friends and family think its brilliant, they’re really proud of us but also laugh in my face on a regular basis! In my local area it’s been fabulous; local businesses, my daughter’s school, other daughter’s nursery, dancing and theatre schools have all got involved.

“This morning on the way to work I stopped at a drive-thru Starbucks for a coffee (it’s a regular stop for me) and the lady on the window greeted me with “and what are you today then…” so people are enjoying getting involved. I’ve actually enjoyed it more than I was expecting to, and the brilliant amount of money we’ve raised so far just makes it better!”

NOSTALGIA: Cathryn started the month as a Subbuteo player.

Florence’s mum Jenny was full of praise for her long-time friends. “I was blown away when they told me their plans,” she said. “It’s so lovely that they’re doing it and they’ve been amazing. They’re doing it going to work; Cath even went to London on the train dressed as Minnie Mouse and Tina got on the tram as a whoopee cushion!

“They’ve raised so much money, and that’s just on the Just Giving page as well so it’s been amazing. People have been brilliant.”

Between them, Tina and Cathryn have 59 different outfits and remarkably, none of them were bought, after they borrowed them from “anyone and everyone”.

With ten outifts still left this month, the pair remained tight-lipped about what’s in store, but Cathryn did reveal her best and worst costumes! “My favourite outfit so far is probably the banana, mainly because it was so ridiculous,” she said. “It was a great costume to wear though as it made me smile all day – how can you not smile dressed as a giant banana?!

“The least favourite is probably my beast costume. It was great in terms of the reaction it received but was difficult to wear – full head latex mask, hands and feet!”

Tina added: “Being catwoman was very embarrassing! I’ve been Kermit the Frog, I’ve been a cow, I’ve been an Egyptian, I’ve been the Queen of Hearts and we did bag-packing as the Frozen sisters so it has been quite diverse! I’m enjoying the really big and airy ones as opposed to the spray-on ones and the hot ones!”

To donate to Florence Croce and the GM1 Foundation, you can visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/fundraisingforflorence.

Elsewhere, two events in Ashton have also aided the fundraising efforts. On Saturday 8th April, a bag-packing session at Tesco’s Stalybridge raised £500 while later that evening, a fashion show the Ashton’s Church of the Nazarene raised over £1000.

A fashion show at the Church of the Nazarene raised over £1000 for terminally-ill Stalybridge toddler Florence Croce.