A WOMAN who lost her father to skin cancer is hopeful a charity ball will encourage others to be more wary of the disease.

Lisa Costello, 34, a driving instructor from Colchester, lost her father Geoff Cleal aged 59, when a melanoma spread to his bowels.

A mole was first found on his stomach in November 2011 and later diagnosed as cancer.

Although Geoff at first thought nothing of it, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in his left leg - these were removed and he was given the all clear for more than three years.

Despite this, Geoff was treated for a brain tumour just three days before his 59th birthday in July 2015.

Then on August 20 doctors told the family more bad news - the cancer had spread to his stomach and was confirmed to be aggressive.

Lisa said her father fought to the very end and when neither the chemotherapy for his stomach or radiotherapy on his brain made a difference, they were faced with the reality Geoff may not make it.

She said: “He was such a strong man and for us to see him deteriorate as he did, it killed him more.

“Once the brain tumour was removed on July 3, he was doing really well and the doctors said his chances were okay, but unfortunately it had spread to the point where it was uncontrollable and he died on November 18.”

Geoff had worked at Kent Blaxill, a kitchen company in Colchester, for 11 years as a project manager.

The family were originally from Bethnal Green in East London.

They moved to Essex 14 years ago and Witham in the early 2000s.

He left behind his wife Janet Cleal, who he was with for 43 years, and five grandchildren between the ages of two and 18.

Lisa said: “He was very much a family man, but reserved, and would always strive for the next challenge.

“He used to be a youth football coach and the number of people who have come to me and said how much of an influence he had on them - he was such a knowledgeable man and I didn’t realise this until he passed.

“There is no history of skin cancer in our family and the doctors said there was no way of knowing how the mole became cancerous. My dad never sat in the sun, he never smoked and only drank on special occasions - he was very well overall.

“Melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers and I don't think people understand how important it is to check your moles. If my dad had his removed a little earlier I feel I wouldn't be here saying this now.”

Originally, Lisa hoped her father would be here to attend the charity ball on June 25 at Colchester Town Hall.

It is being held on the anniversary of his diagnosis and all proceeds will be going to charity Cancer Research.

Companies have donated prizes for a raffle draw on the night, including a £100 gift voucher from Kent Blaxill, home furnishings and personal training sessions.

Colchester stores have rallied to the cause like Alice’s Boutique, who have donated a dress, and Bliss Hair & Beauty on Queen Elizabeth Way, where the winner will be treated to a cut and blow-dry with a full set of gel nails.

Lisa said she would love to raise more than £1,000 and hopes guest speaker, Gemma Cottam, a 25-year-old survivor from Skelmersdale - who got the all clear from stage three melanoma just this month - will help her to do so.

She said: “I've always tried to live my life to the fullest and my parents brought me up to believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I feel I need to help stop anyone going through what we did.

“The way I look at life now is if I died at the same age as my dad I have 25 years left, so if I can save one person a year from this awful disease then I'll be happy.

“As for my family, I plan to make every minute count and teach my children to never give up on any of their dreams and to live each day as if it’s your last.

“I hope people enjoy the night and celebrate the lives of people who can’t be with us or who are still battling the disease.”

For more information about the event and to book tickets, visit www.facebook.com/events/468494180002739.