The Irene Parker Skin Safety launch Party

Written by Claire Dale Melanoma UK - Claire @ClaireDale Campaign Manager. Working in partnership with the beauty, health & fitness industry

Finally after all the hard work, running about, tweeting, facebooking, stomping around Wilmslow and Alderley Edge with flyers…the night of the launch party arrived. If nothing else I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep afterwards. I had not managed one all week with thoughts of what was still left to do whizzing through my mind in the small hours. This was my very first event… apart from my children’s birthday parties. Not quite the same!

With a final push from my right-hand woman Fran Holden who has helped with all the technical side of this event (I am still a pencil and moleskin notebook kinda girl) we were all ready to go. What would I have done without her? I treated her to a blow dry as I decided that even if nobody showed up we would at least have great hair.

Sarah, Claire and Fran 

The ladies from Bronzie 

The Yard in Alderley Edge is family run café, juice bar, health food shop and events space in the heart of Alderley Edge. The Pickering family have been wonderfully supportive and encouraging of this project from the very start and I have loved dropping in and out of The Yard on an almost daily basis recently. A great home from home. 

Bronzie arrived with their pop-up shop and it was lovely to meet the owner Leanne and her Mum Debbie who had made the journey from Liverpool to support the campaign and get some good publicity for her great product.

With all the Melanoma UK balloons, the gorgeous table flowers from Ian Lloyd in Wilmslow, the free-standing banner with the Irene Parker Skin Awareness Message on and a gorgeous picture of my Mum it all looked really brilliant and I started to feel very excited.

Then the guests started to arrive….loads of them! In no time The Yard was packed from front to back and it was a wonderful feeling to see so many old friends, new contacts, local beauty and health businesses, family, Gillian Nuttall and all of Team Melanoma UK out in force to support.

Claire Dale, Rebeckah Vaughan, Nicola Gleave and Mike McCartney 

Next up…ME. Heart thumping and palms sweating I went on stage and told everyone about the inspiration behind this idea…my Mum. It was very emotional to talk about her, it still feels very raw and strange to talk about what has happened. But  I feel so strongly that this idea, to raise awareness in the beauty, health and fitness industry, is so important. If only Mum had been made aware of skin checking in these environments she frequented regularly and so enjoyed.

Nicola Gleave from Worn by Us,  Rebeckah Vaughan and Debbie from Bronzie 

After some beautiful singing from Sadie Pickering it was time to start the speeches. Councillor Ellie Brooks kicked things off and said she was proud that this campaign is building its foundation in Wilmslow and Alderley. She has championed this idea from the beginning and I am lucky to have her on board.

I introduced the inspirational founder of our charity Gillian Nuttall (above) who was great at speaking after all her years of experience. She told the crowd that due to losing a close family friend to melanoma she felt compelled to DO something to help others in the same position. She said how it is possible to turn a private and personal tragedy into something positive. It was so important to have her input on the night.

Dr.Vishal Madan, Consultant Dermatologist was next up on stage with a very informative presentation on the different types of skin cancer and how to check your skin and guidelines on how to prevent skin cancer. What a find he has been for my campaign! Everyone was hanging on his every word and he is a very friendly and approachable man. I feel lucky to have him on speed dial for advice and support.

Live music from The Experience followed and they were fantastic. Mike McCartney, who knows a bit about bands (!)  said they were ‘ones to watch’ and ‘you would be seeing a lot more of them’. High praise indeed. Thank you boys for giving us a great show and for being very interested in the campaign and what we are trying to achieve with it.

The raffle winners were introduced by Rebeckah Vaughan , Big Brother contestant 2011 and charity ambassador who did a great job and was also instrumental in getting Bronzie to come and support.

The highlight of the night however was a talk from the wonderful Mike McCartney. Ex scaffold, ex Mike ‘McGear’ and photographer. He made a funny and ‘on message’ speech about his own experience of skin cancer. He  has had basal cell carcinoma removed and could talk with real knowledge of the fear of waiting for results and the dangers of sunbeds. After some arm twisting from fans in the audience he returned to the stage a short time later for a full rendition of his big no.1 hit single of 1968 Lily the Pink. We all sang along and it was a very special moment. Thank you Mike for being such a good sport!

Everyone left with a goody bag supplied by SunSense and filled with samples of their products and products from Tan Organic and Uvistat. We certainly tried to make people go away with the idea that wearing high factors and faking your tan healthily were the best options for your skin’s health.

Thank you to EVERYONE who made this such a successful night. I felt Mum with me every step of the way and know that this campaign is a fitting legacy for such a wonderful woman.

Worn by Us founder Nicola and the legendary Mike McCartney 

Now the hard work begins on getting the beauty, health and fitness industry on board with this campaign. We are off to a brilliant start but there is so much work to do.

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Photos by Tony Ioannides -