A SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur has shifted attentions away from a date with Royalty to help a little girl with a rare condition.
Michelle Taylor, 36, had planned a trip to Buckingham Palace after being invited to become a “friend” for the Outward Bound Trust.
Michelle, whose designer lingerie firm Tallulah Love is going from strength to strength, received the invitation from the Trust and its chairman The Duke of York.
In return for the honour, she needed to pledge a minimum donation of £3,000.
But now Michelle has revealed she is turning her attentions instead to putting the money raised into support for a Hartlepool youngster.
Five year old Jasmine Sanderson is a pupil at St John Vianney RC Primary School, and is one of just a handful of people in the UK to be suffering with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP).
It is a condition which causes bones to grow over tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles.
Her parents, Kelly, 33, and Ian, 38, as well as other family members and friends have been on a fundraising drive to raise £120,000 by February next year, which is needed to continue vital research.
Michelle said other people who had been invited to be Outward Bound Friends had raised £3,000 which meant the Trust had sufficient donations before hers.
She added: “I have now switched my campaign to one closer to home.
“I heard about a lovely little girl Jasmine who’s has the rare bone condition FOP.
“My sister Leanne Taylor and our friend Kirsty Henderson are organising a Xmas talent show and raffle at Dyke House to raise funds too.
“When I heard about this poor little girl I knew we just had to help in any way we could. My trip to Buckingham Palace paled into insignificance when I heard of this family’s plight, especially as little Jasmine is from the town too.
“All funds that we had made so far from Facebook friends and Hartlepool Mail readers are being transferred across to this charity. We are so grateful for everyones support and generosity.
“You never know, one day I might get chance to visit Buckingham Palace for another reason.”
Michelle first hit the headlines in 2008 when she won the Hartlepool Mail-backed If We Can, You Can competition.
Since then, she has also been a finalist in the UK Lingerie Awards, winner of the Best New Business title at the Women Into The Network competition, and runner-up in the Best International Business Woman competition.
Anyone wanting to support her and her funding for Jasmine should visit http://www.gofundme.com/letscureFOPtogether to find out more.