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Mon 23 Oct 2023

Fashion Show on a Mission turns Welsh town pink

It wasn’t New York, Paris, or Milan but the women sashaying down the catwalk were all super-models as they painted the Welsh town of Penarth PINK.

More than 100 people united in the town’s Pier Pavilion Friday night to support Fashion Show on a Mission on Go Pink Day during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The pier looked pretty in pink as guests arrived at the venue and welcomed with a glass of pink fizz or lemonade.

Hosted by BBC Radio Wales presenter, Dot Davies, this event was billed as “empowering and inclusive”, but it was also going to be emotional.

The models were women who had survived, or been affected by, cancer. Many had used our support services or are volunteers. Four women on the catwalk were breast cancer survivors.

There was going to be a lot of pre-love in the room too. Models were about to strut their stuff in sustainable and stylish clothes from Tenovus Cancer Care’s shops and e-Bay collection.

If there had of been a pink carpet, it would have been rolled out for Cardiff breast cancer surgeon, Asmaa Al-Allak. The 2023 winner of The Great British Sewing Bee - a BBC reality series which annually searches for the UK’s best amateur stitcher - is a queen not only of her profession, but of the needle and thread.  

Asmaa donated four of her crafty creations for the event, and to the highest bidder. Also in the house was bespoke Cardiff tailor Nathan Palmer dressed in a dashing pink suit, with a surprise donation up his sleeve.

Guests took their seats, many wearing pink, where they found a goody bag donated by award-winning south Wales spa TRIBE517. 

The atmosphere then turned electric as the models walked out to rapturous applause and uplifting songs, courtesy of Rookwood Sound.

Hip-swaying down the catwalk, with courage and confidence, the models were there in support of the cause, and each other.

There was a sea of denim, Christmas party sparkle, and even a vintage section, supplied by Tenovus Cancer Care’s Albany Road shop, a big hit in student land, and all the rage.


Dot Davies, who said she often shopped in Tenovus Cancer Care shops, drummed home the importance of buying second-hand.

“Today, the importance of having charity retail, buying second hand, recycling, and repurposing pre-loved clothing, has never been so important.

 With the average item of clothing only worn 10 times before being binned, around 1.2million tons of textile waste ends up in landfill each year. That’s just madness!

Charity shops recycle more than 90% of pre-loved clothing – please consider donating clothes and items to Tenovus Cancer Care to keep it out of landfill!”

Then, Dot Davies called Asmaa to the catwalk, to talk about her spellbinding sowing, but more importantly about her day job delivering breast cancer diagnosis and saving lives.

Moving some in the audience to tears, Asmaa said: “It’s difficult not to become emotionally involved when I tell a woman she has breast cancer, and the longer I do it, the harder it becomes. You can see it in her eyes - she’s not thinking about herself, she’s thinking about her parents, her partner, or her husband, and she’s thinking about her children, and perhaps her job. The last thing she thinks about is what is this going to mean to me. It’s so difficult to detach yourself to that emotion.”

Then the powerful finale, bringing the audience to their feet, as cancer survivors amongst the models took to the stage in a walking wall of pink – each woman then taking the microphone to recall their individual stories, and urging those present to check their chests.

Included was Sybil Fowler, presenter on Rookwood Sound Hospital Radio, and member of Tenovus Cancer Care’s Sing with Us choir in Cardiff north. Sybil was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2011. Following an op, chemo, and radiotherapy she recovered, but had a powerful message for all present.

 “I would urge anyone in this room to go for their mammogram appointment, and not delay”, she said. “I left it late, I was too busy, it was okay, but it might not have been.”

Then, in a special moment, model Soraya walked out with teenage daughter Soffia wearing a pink bespoke jacket tailored by Nathan Palmer.

Mum and daughter strode out together, hugging each other, demonstrating how cancer not only affects those with the diagnosis, but family and friends too.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, Soraya Kelly is a member of Tenovus Cancer Care’s All-Wales Cancer Community and campaigns for earlier detection of all cancers, through empowerment and education.

She told the audience: “One in two people may have cancer, but it also affects so many more, family members and friends. My beautiful daughter, who had to give up so much at the time, was affected.

There needs to be more early detection, and we need to do all we can to raise awareness from an early age of the signs and symptoms of all cancer.

I’d like to say thank you to Tenovus Cancer Care for this opportunity, and for supporting so many families following their cancer diagnosis.”

Then came the surprise of the night as Dot Davies announced that under one of the audience’s seats was a pink “sparkly” envelope, and inside was the winner of the jacket Soraya modelled, created and donated by Nathan Palmer.

The raffle was then drawn, with lucky ticket holders winning an assortment of amazing prizes donated by local businesses, a giant pink teddy taking pride of place.

Finally, guests were invited to bag a pre-loved item from a pop-up shop.

Tenovus Cancer Care supports 10% of people diagnosed with cancer in Wales.

Each year in the UK, nearly 56,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer – that’s around 153 people – including men - each day or one every 10 minutes. There are also around 61,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK today.

Tenovus Cancer Care would like to say a massive DIOCH to everyone who helped make a difference by supporting Fashion Show on a Mission. All proceeds will go towards giving help, hope, and a voice to everyone affected by cancer.

If you’re worried about cancer, or notice any changes with your body, don’t hesitate in seeing your GP or call Tenovus Cancer Care on 0800 808 1010 for information and advice.

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010