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Crowds in a ‘frenzy’ as Courage models take to the catwalk

20 female models were greeted by thunderous applause at this Year's Courage on the Catwalk. Picture by Kath Flannery.
20 female models were greeted by thunderous applause at this Year's Courage on the Catwalk. Picture by Kath Flannery.

Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom was filled with applause, laughter and tears as 20 models took to the stage for this year’s Courage on the Catwalk.

The sold out event hosted by Friends of Anchor returned to the venue for an incredible fashion show modelled by an all-female cast.

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the female models, who all have their own personal experience with battling cancer, were finally able to take to the catwalk.

Hundreds of guests cheered on the models as they swayed and sometimes danced down the catwalk three times before being followed by a grand finale.

Satuday’s event followed two evenings of the men’s fashion show Brave, during which 24 male models transformed “from shy guys to catwalk models”. 

Models wearing outfits for the theme Brunch with the Girls. Picture by Kath Flannery.

The line-up of models for Courage – aged between 18 and 83 – have been waiting two years for their chance in the spotlight.

Each of the 20 participants have been sharing their stories of their own battle with cancer or haematology in the lead up to tonight’s show.

The room was packed with friends, family and supporters celebrating those taking part as they danced their way down the catwalk.

‘So proud and grateful’

One of this year’s participants, Gail Grigor, said the “amazing show” was a great way to mark the end of her cancer journey.

The mother-of-three was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and spent 11 hours in surgery after being told she needed to have a mastectomy.

While this was successful, she underwent an “agonising” six months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy after the cancer was found to have spread to her lymph nodes.

However, after nearly three years of treatment, she said she’s now cancer free and better than ever.

Gail Grigor taking to the catwalk. Picture by Kath Flannery.

Speaking at Saturday’s event, Mrs Grigor said: “I’m so proud and grateful to be part of it all and to help raise for this amazing cause that I hope will go on and on and continue to be a success because it helps so many lives in the north-east and Aberdeen and Moray where I’m from as well.

“We’re all out of our comfort zone wearing things that we might not have previously chosen.

“But we’ve been given the best of treatment and glammed up within an inch of our lives and as soon as we hit that stage the crowd basically lifted us off our feet. We’re so so lucky the atmosphere is insane.”

‘An uplifting event’

Since being nominated two years ago, the Fochabers resident said not all had made it to the event.

“It’s been two long years,” Mrs Grigor said. “A lot’s happened in the two years, a lot’s happened to the three ladies who were supposed to be with us on this journey.

Margaret Donald, aged 83, this year’s oldest model taking to the catwalk. Picture by Kath Flannery.

“One in particular, Marie, who was really close to me, and she had a massive zest for life, she was a real inspiration to us all and a real icon for my little girls.”

Having got to know the group of ladies over the past few years, Mrs Grigor said they were more like family and chat every day.

She added: “Some people are still going through sad journeys and scary times but we’re all there for each other and our families.”

£146,000 raised

Mrs Grigor said Courage on the Catwalk has been an “uplifting event” and the crowd have been in a “frenzy” in supporting all the models.

She added: “No matter what could go wrong everybody is just going to lift us up and carry us through.”

Courage on the Catwalk will return for a second sold-out show on Sunday. This week’s events have already raised a massive £146,000 for Friends of Anchor.

The money raised from both fashion shows, including raffle tickets and donations, will go towards the Anchor appeal with the hopes of raising an extra £2million for the new Anchor Centre.

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