MORE than 250 people joined together for a celebration event in aid of a seriously-ill Belper woman.
Penny Wheeler and her family hosted the bash at Belper Rugby Club as a way of saying thank you to all the people who have supported her since a fund was set up in her name last November in an attempt to help her battle two life-threatening illnesses.
The 51-year-old suffers from scleroderma, a condition that causes the body to attack itself, and pulmonary fibrosis, which causes her lungs to scar and makes it very difficult to breathe.
Penny said: “Over the last 12 months we have received so many kind donations.
“So the event was an opportunity for us to say thankyou to as many people as we could and show how appreciative we are of everything that has been done to help.”
Since November, various individuals and local organisations have raised cash for Penny’s Fund.
These include the Belper branch of the Masons, a team of runners from the Spanker Inn in Heage, six cyclists from Belper who rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and a solo walker who is currently trekking across Spain to raise cash.
Penny, of Beaurepaire Crescent, even has an annual music festival named after her — PennyFest — which takes place in Derby.
Everyone who attended the event at the rugby club received entry into a Golden Ticket draw.
They could also buy additional tickets to win some great prizes, which were donated by local organisations and businesses.
DJ John Mills hosted a northern soul and Motown disco and food was provided by Belper’s Elaichi Indian restaurant.
A raffle was set up to cover the cost of the venue and the entertainment for the evening, however due to the amount of tickets sold and the presentation of a cheque from Splitz Dance Centre, £1,450 was left over on the night which will go towards Penny’s Fund.
During the event, Penny’s husband Nick took the opportunity to thank everyone.
He explained how touched and overwhelmed he and his family had been by the amount of encouragement and support they have received.
To find out more about Penny’s Fund visit the page on Facebook or search for Penny’s Fund on Google.