HUNDREDS of women swapped their gladrags for festival wear to enjoy a ladies day with a difference.

The Angel Trust had planned to stage its flagship event in May, in a marquee that would have held 1,200 glammed-up women.

After it was cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions, the Bishop Auckland-based charity worked with venue Hardwick Hall Hotel, in Sedgefield, to hold an outdoor socially-distanced alternative.

Entertainment was provided by iStage, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Wayne Woodward, Lisa Gaga, Leanne Harper as Beyonce, Tess Tickle, Re Take That and duo He Knows, She Knows

Charity founder Clair McGregor said: “I’ve never done an event like it.

“Keeping to social distancing has been hard, but we’ve done it.

“The weather was against us to start, we served afternoon tea to 320 ladies in the rain. We had one guy carrying a big table umbrella with two girls underneath taking afternoon tea on stands to the tables.

“It was unreal how people have just got on and enjoyed it, they just danced in the rain in their ponchos until the sun came out.”

Sunday’s Ladies Day Festival was one of a three-week series of fundraising events which began with Coldplay UK and The Jam’d tributes on Friday and M People’s Heather Small on Saturday.

The Hardwick Summer Series will include children’s festivals Monday, August 24 and Thursday, August 27; Kroud Karaoke on Friday, August 28; Club Tropicana on Saturday, August 29; To The Manor Born garden party on Sunday, August 30 and two fairytale Disney-themed shows on Monday, August 31.

Gabrielle and DJs Keith Martin and Allister Whitehead will perform on Friday, September 4; there will be drag bingo the next night and Proms in the Park on Sunday, September 6.

It ends with the annual North East Oyster Festival with Boyzlife, aka Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden, on Saturday, September 11.

Tickets available at