Palace date for Firefly’s Denise

Firefly's founder Denise Dunn.
Firefly's founder Denise Dunn.

Denise Dunn, one of the original founders of Aurora and the woman behind Firefly, has been invited to Buckingham Palace.

Denise, who lives in Barnby Dun, received her special invite to the Queen’s Garden Party just before Christmas.

“I was shocked when I picked up the envelope and saw the royal crest on the front but I was even more overwhelmed when I opened it. I just couldn’t stop smiling,” admitted the mum-of-five.

The invite is especially poignant for Denise who is currently battling cancer for a third time.

“I was thrilled,” she said. “It really lifted me, especially at the moment because I’m undergoing treatment again. In a strange kind way it’s also made me reflect on the journey I’ve taken since I was diagnosed with breast cancer way back in November 1997.When I was first diagnosed, I never expected to end up at Buckingham Palace but here I am and now I can’t wait!”

Denise, who helped found Aurora, set up the Firefly group in 2005 - a year after she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. As a patient, Denise understood the desperate need for a free bus link to hospitals in Sheffield, where patients often have to go for regular treatment. Today, the unique Doncaster-based charity is a lifesaver to patients undergoing regular gruelling treatments. The first bus was bought in 2010, when it was funded by Fil Adams-Mercer after the charity was highlighted on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme. Now there are two Firefly Express buses on the road, with plans to buy a third vehicle, taking up to 30 people a day to Sheffield, where parking is often awkward.

It is because of this and her tireless work helping others, despite fighting her own personal battle with the disease, which has seen her nominated to attend the Queen’s Garden Party on June 6. Denise plans to go along to the special event with her fiancé Chewy, son David, 25, and daughter Natalie, 21.

Denise, who ended up in Weston Park Hospital during the New Year with a severe bout of flu, says the best thing about the surprise invite will be shopping for a new outfit.

“I love shopping but this gives me a real excuse to hit the shops and splash out!” she adds.

The movie of last year’s fashion show is on March 22 at The Glass House, Kirk Sandall.. Contact Denise on 07738 390541 or email