Sophie is princess of fancy dress parade

GALLERY A little girl who has endured continuing treatment for an aggressive brain tumour became a princess yesterday as she joined nearly 200 children and adults in fancy dress to raise money for charities.

David Green

A LITTLE girl who has endured continuing treatment for an aggressive brain tumour became a princess yesterday as she joined nearly 200 children and adults in fancy dress to raise money for charities.

Sophie Harper, aged three, helped establish a world record for the number of people in fancy dress when she took part in an event organised by her grandfather, John Huggins, at Southwold Common.

People from all over Suffolk and Norfolk turned up for the event - in a great variety of costumes, from Disney characters to pirates, fairies and Morris dancers.


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They then set off on a two-mile sponsored walk to raise money for three charities which have supported Sophie and her family during the past two years - the Tadworth Children's Rehabilitation Trust, East Anglia's Children's Hospices and Cancer Research UK.

Sophie, who was dressed yesterday as a princess and was pushed round the route of the walk in a buggy, was just 19 months old when the malignant tumour was detected and she underwent a gruelling eight and a half hour operation followed by other operations and courses of chemotherapy.

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Her mother, Anna Harper, who also took part in the walk, said: “She is responding well to treatment but she still can't walk.”

Last year Mr Huggins, who lives in Southwold, organised a similar fancy dress event and raised nearly £30,000 for the three charities although an attempt to establish a world record failed when the Guinness Book of Records declined to become involved.

He has no idea yet how much will be raised by this year's event but his efforts did succeed yesterday in establishing a world record for the number of people in fancy dress gathered at a single location.

The record - based on the 185 people who registered for the event - was authenticated by Dean Gould of Record Holders Republic, which specialises in records involving human achievement.

Mr Huggins, who was dressed as Bob the Builder, said the turnout was slightly lower than anticipated and he suspected that some people planning to take part had been put off by the “dreadful” weather earlier in the day.

“However, the sun is now shining and a lot of people have made the effort to support us. We've got nothing to beat because last year it was turned down by Guinness. If we raise as much as last year I would be more than happy because money is much tighter this year,” he added.

Teresa Baggott, mayor of Southwold, who turned up to support the event, said: “I think it is absolutely fantastic. It is a great cause, the weather has got much nicer and everyone is having a good time.”

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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