Beverley Knight to perform at Wolverhampton charity gala to raise funds for specialist cancer treatment
Soul star Beverley Knight says she cannot wait to help a family friend who is battling terminal cancer.
Wolverhampton’s Beverley will sing at a charity gala at the Molineux next month, organised to help pay for specialist cancer treatment for Anntoinette Richards.
Miss Richards, a 32-year-old mother from Bushbury, is suffering liver cancer and is hoping to get treatment in Germany after doctors in England said there was nothing more they could do.
Her father Errol and family are on a mission to raise £77,000 for the treatment, which includes organising a charity gala dinner with entertainment in the WV1 Restaurant on December 8.
The gala will feature an acoustic set by Beverley, aged 44, who has known Miss Richards since she was a young girl. Beverley is also related to Ms Richard’s cousin Lorraine Esson, who has organised a fundraising page.
Beverley said: “Our families are extremely close and when Lorraine told me what was going on with Anntoinette I was in a state of shock.
“She is so full of life and very healthy. When someone is so clean-living and is struck down with cancer it seems to be a bigger blow.”
Miss Richards, who has an 11-year-old daughter Kiahna, was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of this year.
In February, after a mastectomy, doctors thought the cancer had gone, but it spread to her liver, and in August she was told it was terminal.
Beverley said: “I think it was the shock that someone I know could have something as serious as stage 4 cancer of the liver.
“It was one thing to have breast cancer, but then to have it again, that was terrifying, it was Lorraine who said we need to do something.
“The NHS have done what they can, but they can’t do what is needed for her and so this is where we find ourselves, trying to raise money for treatment elsewhere.
“The one thing I know how to do is sing, and I said if there was anything I could do let me know.
“A month ago the gala was planned, and it is a race against time – six weeks to go.”
Beverley knew Ms Richards as a teenager. When she would visit her grandfather, Mrs Richards’ family, which lived close by in Low Hill, would often join them.
Beverley said: “I have wonderful memories with Anntoinette and her family. I really want to do what I can to help her.”
Beverley says her set will include her classic songs.
She will also perform alongside Project 21, a funk and soul band which will be performing also.
For the star the date is of the event is perfect. She starts rehearsing for her role as fairy godmother in Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime Cinderella on December 4, and they have a break four days later – the date of the gala.
The pantomime will start on December 19, only pausing no Christmas Day and New Year’s Day over the festive period.
Mr Richards, 54, is also raising money for his daughter’s treatment by hiking up the Wrekin three times as part of a mammoth challenge titled Miles of Hope.
All proceeds raised from the gala night will go towards Miss Richard’s treatment and survival fund. Platinum, gold and standard tickets are available.
For more information about her story and to donate towards her treatment visit www.gofundme.com/helpanntoinette.
Anyone wanting to buy tickets should visit ticketsource.co.uk/helpanntoinette or contact 07743405451.