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Formby daughter organises convoy of over 100 illuminated vans in memory of step mum

A Formby daughter has organised a glowing tribute for her late stepmother in the form of one hundred illuminated vans travelling in convoy along Blackpool Promenade.

Anne-Marie Appleton, 26, decided to continue the fundraising spectacle in aid of the British Heart Foundation after her stepmother Denise Appleton died from sudden a heart attack two years ago.

Denise grew up in Formby on Greenloons Drive and was a bubbly friendly person who would do anything for her family and friends. Anne-Marie said: "After Denise died, I decided to take on the responsibility of organising the event and it went really well last year so I have been asked to carry on and I'm really happy to do so in Denises memory."

Thousands of spectators will turn out to see the World famous Blackpool Illuminations and will be in for an extra special treat when they see the brightly lit, jaw-dropping convoy this Saturday, 1st October.

Drivers of the vans will have travelled hundreds of miles from different parts of the country to take part in this event that is now in its third year. Anne-Marie from Formby said: “I’m really happy to do this event again in memory of my step mum who was a local woman so it is great to get so much support from our local community. It would be great if people want to come down to see the convoy as last year everyone stopped to look as it was quite a spectacle."

Last year, the ‘Vans With Light’ event raised more than £3,000 for the life-saving charity, with £730 that came from fundraising buckets on the night - smashing their initial goal of just £500. The target this year is £1,500 with £800 already raised. The vans and lorries will start at 7pm and travel along Blackpool Promenade on the seafront from North to South. This is the third time the convoy, which was actually put together by Anne-Marie’s partner James Comish, has completed a run for charity. Anne-Marie said: “Lasy year, It was equally as bright as the Illuminations. There must have been thousands of lights.”

The British Heart Foundation was chosen as the beneficiary of Mrs Appleton’s memorial convoy, because she was a dedicated supporter of the charity and helped publicise the 'Vans With Light' 2014 event. She left behind a husband, two daughters and two stepdaughters. Anne-Marie said: “Denise worked really hard on the event in it's first year. My dad says she would have been really proud of what we have achieved. I think she would have loved the vans. I want to help other people suffering from life-threatening heart conditions because I don’t want any other families to have to go through what we have.”

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, with more than 73,000 people dying from the disease each year. Around one in six men and one in 10 women die from heart disease.

Convoy leader James Comish, 24 and from Formby, spent hundreds of pounds decorating his van last year. He said: “We wanted to help people with heart conditions cope with it the best we can. If we can help even one person then it’s worth every penny.”

Everyone is very welcome to go along this Saturday and any support for the charity to help Anne-Marie reach her target would be fantastic.

The Just Giving page is:

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