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Let’s get Denise Welch on the Queens Birthday Honours list, 2022! Our very own Steven Smith reports from the recent The Gem Appeal Ball in Manchester, which was hosted by Denise Welch.

Denise Welch – She fights for LGBTQ rights, champions mental health with MIND, and is patron of the Gem Appeal. That is just the tip of the iceberg for the woman many of you have loved since her days in Coronation Street or before, the amazing Denise Welch. One of the annual highlights of Denise’s year is hosting her annual charity ball in aid of The Gem Appeal, held at Manchester’s Kimpton Clocktower. This year’s theme was a dazzling winter wonderland.

The GEM Appeal was founded in 1994 by Karen Johnson after she was approached by Consultant Paediatrician Dr Ed Wraith. Dr Wraith was hoping to raise money to extend the Willink Metabolic Unit at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and to fund research into the disorder that both Karen’s children, Simon and Mike, were dying from.

At that time there was no treatment and no real hope for children diagnosed with these rare genetic disorders and inborn errors of metabolism. There was also very little research being done into curing these diseases.   Sadly, Karen’s two sons both died not long after the Gem Appeal was set up, aged just 12 years old, but trials of treatment of enzyme replacement therapy became available to others with promising results.

This is now the 21st year Denise has hosted the Gem Appeal ball and the charity has raised millions, due in part to events like this. 

Denise Welch, Falklands war hero, Simon Weston CBE, our chief correspondent Steven Smith and other celebrities enjoyed themselves while fundraising.

The stunning Denise arrived on a magical sleigh wearing a blue fairy-tale dress. Guests included the gorgeous Jenny Powel, Falklands war hero, Simon Weston CBE with his wife Lucy,  Unbreakable star, Richard Taylor and partner Stephen Bailey, and Coronation Street stars Sally Dynevor and Jane Danson (Sally and Leeanne to the Corrie Fans among you).

We all agreed that Denise looked like a Disney Princess. The room was equally packed with some fabulous queens of another type, as the cream of the Northern LGBTQ society all came out, not only to support the charity, but also in true panto form to “get behind” their favourite Loose Woman.

The night was not just glamour and excitement, one of the most poignant moments was when Harry Hudson joined Denise on stage. Harry lives with the condition and has survived into his late teens, something that was not possible twenty years ago. 

The gorgeous Jenny Powel and handsome Bruce Turner compered the evening. Just when we thought the night could not get any better, it was topped off by the band “The Real Thing”. Party goers danced until the early hours, while we raised money for The Gem Appeal. 

More more information about the Gem Appeal – Click HERE. 

The Gem Appeal ball is organised by The Gem Appeal and Entertainment Today. 

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Steven Smith

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