A host of sports stars and celebrities including former England cricketer Darren Gough, former Westlife frontman Shane Filan and Una Healy from the Saturdays helped raise more than £32,000 for a Wellingborough-based charity set up in memory of a five-year-old who died of a rare form of cancer.
The celebrities took part in a golf tournament at Whittlebury Hall Golf Club on Saturday and then attended a gala ball inside the country club in aid of Niamh’s Next Step.
The ball included an auction with a number of top prizes, including a signed helmet from superbike rider Carl Foggarty and a piece of a Red Bull Formula One car signed by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
One bidder paid more than £1,200 to play a round of golf with Rugby player Ben Foden, who is a patron of the charity along with his colleague Lee Dickson.
The event was organised by Niamh’s parents, Chris and Samantha Curry, and the charity’s trustees to raise money for appeal set up in memory of Niamh who died of neuroblastoma.
In early 2012, Niamh’s family raised thousands to pay for Niamh’s treatment at The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. But Niamh sadly died before she had the chance to get treatment in the US.
Mr and Mrs Curry vowed to carry on their fight against the illness in Niamh’s name by launching Niamh’s Next Step as a charity.
Mr Curry said: “It was amazing, an incredible event. Everyone had a fantastic time and there has been lots of great feedback on social media.”
On the night he paid tribute the charity’s ‘hard working’ trustees and all those who have supported Niamh’s Next Step since its launch.
He said: “As a charity we are very proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time.
“Niamh’s Next Step started just over eight months ago, but without our incredibly hard working volunteers there would be no charity.”
Mr Filan said: “Niamh’s story broke my heart. I remember we were on stage when we heard she had passed away and it broke my heart.
“The charity is just such an amazing cause and if I can help in any way to save another child’s life, I will.
“I am not involved with too many charities but this one touches me.”
Mr Gough said: “I really enjoyed myself. I got involved through boxer Pete McDonagh as Chris Curry was at one of his fights in Manchester.
“I always try and help as much as I can. I try my best to support the charity as much as I can.”
Mr Foden said: “I was introduced to Chris by Lee Dickson. The news about Niamh really hit home with me and Una as it was shortly after we had our own daughter.
“It’s great to know that Niamh had a massive impact and has left this legacy. The charity means a lot to both me and Una and we will do anything we can to help.”