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Big Ballet star Carol Hartley takes to the catwalk for charity

Mirfield mum-of-one to turn model for Lily Cunliffe fashion show fundraiser

Stars of the Channel 4 programme 'Big Ballet'. Pictured at Mirfield, l to r, Claire O'Connor, Stella White, Emma Wilson and Carol Hartley.

Ballet dancer and champion for the larger lady Carol Hartley is to take to the catwalk for charity.

Mum-of-one Carol, 39, of Mirfield, became a local celebrity after starring in the Channel 4 documentary Big Ballet in February.

Since the three-part series aired Carol and her fellow ‘Swans’ have been in much demand.

The TV show saw ballet star Wayne Sleep recruit a team of over-sized dancers to perform Swan Lake in front of an audience.

The dancers have stayed together since filming the show last year and now eight of them will become models.

Carol will lead a team of dancers taking part in a charity fashion show in memory of Lily Cunliffe, a three-year-old Barnsley girl who died of a brain tumour last April.

Money raised will go to the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Barnsley where Lily was cared for and Levi’s Star, a Wakefield-based charity which funds brain tumour research.

Carol, a customer services manager, will model designer clothing by provided by fellow dancer Donna Hargreaves who runs a Barnsley fashion boutique.

Also joining her on the catwalk will be Hannah Baines, the 14-stone dancer who took the principal role of the White Swan.

The event, to be hosted by Simon Hirst and Jo-Jo from 105 Capital FM, will be held at the Holiday Inn in Dodworth, Barnsley, on Saturday April 12 (7.30pm).

A former professional dancer, Carol was a size 22 before starting ballet training last year.

She decided to take part to help change attitudes towards larger ladies.

Carol said: “We hope because we have been on the telly we’ll prove to be a big draw and help raise a lot of money for a great cause.”

The Swans have plans for a secret ballet flash mob and are also looking for an artistic director to organise performances and shows. They also hope to go on tour.

“We have lots of exciting things in the pipeline which we can’t talk about yet,” said Carol.

“I still get recognised in the street and it always throws me a bit. But it’s really nice.”

Tickets for the fashion show cost £20 and are available from Danny Beever on 07938 009495.

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