Charity ball will remember Sunderland sisters after double tragedy

A Sunderland family are hoping to help two worthy causes in the wake of a double tragedy.

Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 3:42 pm
Sisters Michelle, left, and Nicola

Sisters Nicola Smith and Michelle Hutchinson died within a year of each other, losing their brave battles with illness.

Nicola, 49, died last September having fought against cancer, but finally succumbing when the disease returned for a second time.

Earlier this month Michelle died aged 54, seven years after being diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).

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It was heart-breaking for the family to see both women fight so hard and so bravely for such a long time, only to be taken away at such young ages.

Nicola became a grandmother for the first time as her grandson Nico was born just days before she died, and the day before she passed away her youngster daughter Lucy turned 16.

She is survived by husband Colin 54, daughters Jessica, 24, Abbie, 20, Lucy, 16, and Nico, 11 months.

Her older sister Michelle also leaves behind a young family. Her husband Les 61, who took early retirement to become her carer, daughters Kelly, 33, Amanda, 31, son Stephen, 29, and grandson Lucas, 6.

The double tragedy has devastated the family, but they are determined that something good should come from what they have gone through.

Inspired by the tremendous courage shown by both Nicola and Michelle, and touched by the care both women received, they are staging a ball to help raise much needed funds for two causes very close to their hearts.

The Hopeful Hearts Charity Ball will take place at the Roker Hotel, Sunderland on Saturday, September 28, and will raise money for St Benedict’s Hospice and the MSA Trust.

Both sisters received palliative care at the hospice, where they were treated by the same doctor – Dr Mark Lee.

The night runs from 6pm till late and has a black tie dress code. Tickets cost £50 per person or £450 for table of 10.

The price includes a drink upon arrival and a three-course meal.

Tickets can be bought at