A DAUGHTER’S mission to turn heartbreaking moments into positive memories is the force behind what will be her fifth charity ball since her beloved dad died from cancer.

Lisa Costello is gearing up to the Big Essex Charity Ball in June, an evening of glitz and glamour in aid of six charities, under her family-run events organisation.

Cancer Research UK, the Alzheimer’s Society and Help for Heroes will each receive donations alongside regional charities Mid and North East Essex Mind, St Helena Hospice and Farleigh Hospice.

The 36-year-old mum, who lives in Colchester, said: “All six of them have some connection with my family and I. Given everything which has happened in my life, I know exactly what it’s like to go through anxiety and depression after any trauma.

“My dad passed away of melanoma and my nan of dementia so although the charities are personal to me, I know they’ll touch many other people’s hearts too.”

Halstead Gazette:

Janet and Geoff Cleal

The red carpet event with three-course meal takes place on June 23 at the Crown Plaza Resort, in Tolleshunt Knights.

Guests will be greeted by stilt walkers, be entertained by magicians, singers including the Three Chordettes and contemporary dancers.

Kiss FM radio DJ Billy Da Kid is hosting a set in the evening and Jamie Lee Smith Catering has gifted Lisa with £1,000 for the Grab-a-Grand competition, as well as cooking the food.

This is the second fundraising event the part-time driving instructor has been asked to organise after being approached by venue bosses.

She said: “It was a massive compliment. The arena hosts 2,000 people which is a big step up.

“Rather than just writing a cheque to the charities, I’d like to pick six people doing sponsored challenges.

“I’ve already found someone for Alzheimer’s and Cancer Research, and a friend of mine is a nurse at St Helena Hospice.

“She’s been trying to raise money for virtual equipment for about a year so the residents can lay there wearing these goggles and suddenly they’re elsewhere.

“I know how stressful it is to raise sponsorship money because I had to raise over £3,000 for Stand Up To Cancer when I went to the Grand Canyon last year, but also I want the donations to have that personal touch.”


Eventually the mum-of-four wants to focus on event management full-time and host at least three a year.

Her dad Geoff Cleal’s death in 2015, aged 59, has given her a deeper sense of purpose.

She added: “I feel my dad is with me the whole time.

“It’s as though everything is falling into place and he’s completely guiding me.”

For more information or to tell Lisa about your sponsored challenge, click here