soap star steph is gala day guest

Firefighters at the 2011 charity open day at Leigh Fire Station, organised by Crew Commander Gary Mercer
Firefighters at the 2011 charity open day at Leigh Fire Station, organised by Crew Commander Gary Mercer

A SOAP star will spread a little showbiz stardust on a fund-raising day being organised by firefighters this weekend.

Stephanie Davis, who plays Sinead O’Connor in the Channel 4 programme Hollyoaks, will visit Leigh Fire Station for a charity gala on Saturday afternoon.

The station, on St Helens Road, will throw open its doors to the general public and host an ambitious programme of activities, including station tours, donkey rides and go-karts, all to raise money for the Firefighter’s Charity and Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

There will also be live singing, dance performances from Tyldesley’s 180 company, and the chance to have a look at the fire engines and gain some safety advice from the fire service.

The event follows the massive success of the first fund-raising gala at the station last year, which raised around £5,000 and saw more than 2,000 people visit, and is being organised by Crew Commander Gary Mercer.

Gary, from Astley, decided to start fund-raising three years ago as his father and several friends are fighting battles against cancer, and managed to secure this year’s star guest with help from his son Ben.

Gary, 48, said: “Ben does a bit of part-time acting on Hollyoaks so he was able to arrange for Stephanie to come down. She’ll be having her photograph taken with some of the youngsters.

“It’s also a chance for us to speak to people and give some safety tips. If people want us to book a home safety check, we will be doing that too.

“I started doing charity evenings of entertainment, and then switched to doing the open afternoons at the station last year. It was really for myself because I wanted to give something back to cancer hospitals and hospices.

“My father has been battling cancer for three years and a few friends have sadly died young from the disease too.

“It’s something that touches a lot of people and the support from my colleagues at the station has been brilliant.”

The fun day will take place at Leigh Fire Station on Saturday, June 23, and runs from 11am until 4pm.