Fancy bumping into you at a place like this

Mario Rimold, Joe, Ryan and Claire France
Mario Rimold, Joe, Ryan and Claire France
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IT’S amazing the characters you bump into on a night out in Sheffield... that’s especially true when three Sheffield women - Michelle France, Barbara France and Sharon Beresford - hold one of their legendary fancy dress balls.

Over the years, the three sisters-in-law have been organising parties to raise money for breast cancer research at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and this year - their 11th so far - has been the biggest and best yet.

Hundreds of revellers partied the night away in outlandish costumes at Sheffield Hallam University’s Hubs venue, raising thousands of pounds for the good cause.

Michelle, aged 53, from Waterthorpe, said the evening was ‘absolutely brilliant.’

“Every year it just gets better,” she said.

The ladies decided to start fundraising after she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 1997. Sharon, 54, from Halfway, fell ill with the disease a year later.

“Barbara said we should organise something to raise money for the hospital, because obviously without them we wouldn’t be here today to do it,” Michelle said. “So that’s what we decided to do, a fancy dress to raise money.”

Michelle, who dressed as a clown, said this year’s best costumes included a Mr Blobby plus nuns and vicars.

“Everybody puts in so much effort. Now we always say anything goes.”

Sheffield Hallam provided use of the Hubs for free, as Michelle and Barbara, 54, from Sothall, work at the university as catering assistants.

“The only thing we have to pay for is the tickets being printed. We don’t take anything out of the pot - me, Barbara and Sharon pay for them. If Hallam didn’t provide the venue we couldn’t afford it,” Michelle said.

Michelle said 800 tickets were sold, raising £5,105. The GMB Union donated £300, while friends Julie and Richard Cryer, gave £500.

The organisers presented a cheque to Professor Malcolm Reid, the specialist who leads the breast cancer research. He plans to use it to pay for a student to work there.