MICHELLE Anderson wanted to go to the ball so much that she organised her own event.

Now, thanks to the enterprising 24-year-old from Lanchester, County Durham, a North-East charity appeal is £2,241 better off.

"It's a wonderful achievement. We didn't have to lift a finger, Michelle just rang us up and said I've raised more than £2,000 for your appeal," said Caroline Peacock, fund-raising officer with the Macmillan County Durham appeal.

Michelle, who works in sales for Gateshead firm Data Processing Supplies, forced herself to do something about her long-held ambition by going out and buying the poshest frock she could find.

"I always wanted to go to a ball. I bought the dress but I had nowhere to go, so I decided I had to do something about it," said Michelle.

Within a few weeks she had booked a suite at Beamish Hall, near Stanley, and put together a guest list with more than 100 names.

More than 120 people attended Michelle's DIY event, including friends and family.

To add special glamour, Michelle decreed that it should be a masked ball.

"It was fantastic. Everybody was there in fabulous gowns, tuxedos and sparkly masks," said Michelle.

She chose Macmillan because she had read about the £600,000 County Durham appeal to improve support for terminally ill patients and their families. It has already reached the £300,000 mark.

"Everyone knows someone who has had cancer and I liked the fact that the money would be staying local and benefiting this area," said Michelle.

Sage, one of her firm's clients, sponsored the reception and a masks competition, and went on to raise £600 for the Macmillan appeal by holding a dress down day at their Newcastle headquarters.

* To help the appeal, ring 0191-378 1188.