AN emotional charity ball in honour of a father who lost his battle with melanoma cancer more than doubled its £1,000 fundraising target.

Some 120 guests danced and dined at Colchester Town Hall, where the inside pillars were illuminated pink and a stilt walker surprised them at the venue.

Lisa Costello, 34, a driving instructor from Colchester, organised the black tie affair to raise money for Cancer Research UK and to tribute her father, Geoff Cleal, who died last November, aged 59.

Far from a sombre occasion, Mrs Costello will donate £2,690 to the charity and has earmarked June 24 2017 for another ball.

She said: "I'm over the moon and the feedback afterwards is what made the charity approach me to make it a regular fixture.

"Kent Blaxill, where my dad used to work, donated £400 on the night and were one of my main sponsors, but I'm so appreciative to them all for donating raffle prizes.

"His colleagues told me they still talk about him and miss him - he impacted so many people when he was alive and is still doing so.

"Lots of people said I composed myself quite well when I gave a speech, but each time I felt like I might break down, I took a second to breathe and get myself together.

"I wanted the atmosphere to be kept upbeat and jolly."

Teaming up with the Farleigh Hospice, in Chelmsford, Mrs Costello is hosting a Christmas Charity Ball, on December 16, at Hylands House.

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