Littlehampton mayor's drag alter-ego appears at successful dementia concert

The mayor of Littlehampton's drag queen alter-ago was one of the stars at a successful concert to raise money for dementia research.

Billy Blanchard-Cooper dusted off his wig to transform into Miss Daniella Dream for the first time in 18 months for The Power of Love concert at St James Church in East Ham Road, Littlehampton.

The performers at The Power of Love concert in Littlehampton. Picture: Diana Adams

The performers at The Power of Love concert in Littlehampton. Picture: Diana Adams

Thanks to money raised on the night from ticket sales, organiser Lorna Haynes said the fundraising total was at £1724.51.

She described the concert as 'fabulous': "We came in accompanied by 76 trombones, and everyone started clapping. You could feel the atmosphere from the very beginning; people wanted to raise money."

The mayor, who last appeared in drag at Love Festival in 2017, sang Falling in Love Again - popularised by Marlene Dietrich - and Barry Manilow classic Copacabana, and told the crowds: "Billy couldn't make it, so I've come in his place", Lorna said.

A friend of Lorna's through their connections to the Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society and Edwin James Festival Choir, he was inspired to perform by how she had cared for her husband Colin, who had advanced dementia. Click here to read more about Lorna and Colin's battle with the disease.

Lorna Haynes in The Power of Love concert in Littlehampton. Picture: Diana Adams

Lorna Haynes in The Power of Love concert in Littlehampton. Picture: Diana Adams

Lorna Haynes performed The Power of Love in honour of Colin, as well as Pie Jesus.

He said: "Lorna has been one of the strongest women imaginable in this type of situation and has learnt to not only care for her husband but also to care for herself and make time for her.

"This is so important as you cannot care for someone if you're not looking after yourself."

He added: "When Lorna first contacted me to ask if I would take part, I was slightly hesitant as I thought Miss Daniella Dream had left for good.

Billy Blanchard-Cooper performing as Miss Daniella Dream in The Power of Love concert in Littlehampton. Picture: Diana Adams

Billy Blanchard-Cooper performing as Miss Daniella Dream in The Power of Love concert in Littlehampton. Picture: Diana Adams

"However, for such a special person she made a comeback."

There was also a real proposal on the night, as Ian Sheppard popped the question to Pam Johnson during their performances, sparking a standing ovation.

A talk was also given by Linda Bensusan from The Alzheimer's Society.

Here is a full list of the other performers and their numbers:

Gill Kelly: I Hate Men; Y Viva Espana

Lorna Haynes and Veronica Cringle: I Know Him So Well

Veronica Cringle: Sunset, Sunrise; Sabbath Prayer

Sandy Robinson: I Could Have Danced All Night; Pie Jesus

Pam Johnson: Lascia; More

Ian Sheppard O Sole Mio; You Are The One I Love

Katharine Horwood: Can't Help Lovin' That Man; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

James Rushman and Mick Bond: Well Did You Evah

Mick Bond: Music of the Night

Karl Twort: Empty Chairs and Empty Tables; Love Changes Everything

Martin Coombes: Bring Him Home; With One Look

Zelda Illman: Cabaret; As If We Never Said Goodbye

Chris Chewter: Che Gelida Manina; Gethsemane

Alexandra Claridge: O Mio Bambino Caro; I Dreamed a Dream

The whole company ended the show with You Raise Me Up