Swan Lake surprise for former dancer from Billingshurst

Shirley King
Shirley King

A former dancer from Sussex has been gifted a special night at the ballet.

In celebration of its year-long charity partnership with 52 Lives, GalaBingo.com asked people across the UK to nominate a friend, relative, neighbour or colleague who was in need of a helping hand.

Nominated by her daughter Tracey King, pensioner and former dancer Shirley King, who has lost a leg, was chosen to receive a very special trip to see Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House.

The contest was open to anyone with a GalaBingo.com account, and hundreds of nominations flooded in. The team at GalaBingo.com along with Jaime Thurston, founder of 52 Lives, spent hours carefully considering each and every request, but a decision had to be made.

Shirley, who is from Billingshurst, was one of two winners.

Jaime said: “Shirley was a former dancer who has sadly lost her leg. Despite the loss, Shirley is still an avid fan of dancing, in particular ballet. Shirley loves to watch DVDs of ballet, and her daughter nominated her to receive some more DVDs so that she can continue to enjoy her passion. Thanks to support from GalaBingo.com, we were able to surprise Shirley and her two daughters with tickets to see Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House in July, as well as travel, accommodation, and meals for the weekend.”

Tracey said: “I nominated my mum as I believe she deserved something special due to everything she has been through over the last five years. She has never moaned or complained and always carried on fighting! When I told mum that she had been chosen she was so overwhelmed and couldn’t believe it. It’s emotional to see her so humbled by this generosity. I can’t describe what this means to us. For the first time in the last three years I have a little bit of my mum back again! I can’t thank 52 Lives and GalaBingo.com enough.”

Alison Digges, managing director of Gaming Brands at Ladbrokes Coral, said: “We know that it can be hard to see someone we care about go without something – it is one of the reasons we have been proudly supporting 52 Lives with weekly donations, and ensuring they can go on changing lives and helping those who really need it.

“52 Lives is a fantastic charity that changes someone’s life every week of the year, posting a story about someone every week on their website and social media channels, and working with supporters to give that person the help they require. For us, giving to those who are in need, and spreading kindness and happiness is so important.

“We were delighted to arrange this special treat for Shirley and her daughters. Her story really resonated with us, and, although it was an incredibly tough decision to make, we felt she was especially deserving.”

Duncan James, musician, actor and GalaBingo.com celebrity friend said: “I was proud to be involved in helping to spread the word about this partnership and nomination campaign back in December. Seeing the journey progress right through to the gift-giving stage has been a real pleasure. I hope that Shirley and her daughters thoroughly enjoy their weekend at the ballet!”

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