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Stars of stage and screen unite for family’s fundraising night in memory of ‘huge hearted’ mum Bev

A star-studded fundraising event will continue a family’s support for Weston Park Cancer Charity in memory of their much-loved mother and wife for a third year running.

BB With Love’s ‘Simply the Best 2023’ continues a longstanding partnership, which began when the Croke family decided to come together to celebrate the memory of Bev Croke – nicknamed ‘Beautiful Bev’, or ‘BB’ – who passed away aged 61 from breast cancer.

Bev, who sang in Sheffield Cancer Choir, committed herself to helping others going through cancer. Her children Matthew, Sean and Rachel, with their dad Michael, wanted to carry on that commitment by forming the charity – which has since raised more than £100,000 through ‘Simply the Best’, golf days and other fundraisers.

The night, which this year takes place on October 1st at Sheffield City Hall, brings together stars of television and the West End – including Dr Ranj, Billy Pearce, Hayley Tamaddon and returning host Gok Wan MBE. It’s inspired in part by the performing backgrounds of Rachel and Matthew, himself a West End star notable for starring in Aladdin, Wicked and the upcoming I Should Be So Lucky.

Sheffield Cancer Choir will also give a special performance, alongside RMC Academy of Theatre – for whom Rachel is performance principal – Manor Operatic Society, and the BB With Love Orchestra and Pro Dance Squad.

Alongside raising funds to enhance treatment, provide support and enable research to ensure the best experience possible for the one in two people facing cancer in the region, ‘Simply the Best’ is also a showcase of the range of care and assistance available to those living with cancer.

Matthew and Rachel Croke said: “Our mum had a huge heart and was always the one in the family to go above and beyond to share her love and warmth.

“Mental health awareness was so significant to her during her life and cancer battle, and she always wished for other people to have the same support in Sheffield.

“Even if the money raised from Simply the Best only makes a modest difference for Weston Park Cancer Charity, it is one thousand percent worth it.”

Weston Park Cancer Charity chief executive Emma Clarke added: “We’re so grateful to the Croke family for all they’ve done for our charity.

“BB With Love has raised a tremendous amount for us, which has directly fed into our support for people living with and beyond cancer diagnoses.

“And in donating 100 per cent of the money raised from ticket sales, they truly are continuing Bev’s selfless nature and creating a lasting and beautiful legacy for a much-loved woman.”

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