Real Surprise Surprise for St Annes Bev

Bev and Gemma on the Surprise, Surprise couch with host Holly Willoughby
Bev and Gemma on the Surprise, Surprise couch with host Holly Willoughby

The St Annes founder of a friendship group was treated to a surprise dance display – when her members swapped ballroom for street – with Diversity.

And it was all down to her daughter Gemma – with a little help from Holly Willoughby and the Surprise Surprise team.

Bev and Gemma on the Surprise, Surprise

Bev and Gemma on the Surprise, Surprise

Gemma nominated her mum for the popular ITV show – and they were more than happy to give Bev, founder of Just Good Friends in St Annes, a surprise.

The group, set up to fight loneliness, meets at the People’s Palace in St Annes for friendship, dancing and a whole host of activities.

Bev, 62, said: “It was absolutely fantastic – it just doesn’t happen to people. Then all of a sudden I realised it was happening.

“It was the best time of my life. I’m a massive fan of Diversity and they were just amazing.

Dance group Diversity surprise Bev with their performance

Dance group Diversity surprise Bev with their performance

“I got a call from one of the group members asking me to go in and see the ballroom dancing.

“When I went in there was just a few of them dancing. Then a few started singing. Then more came out.

“The nicest thing was to see the members doing it.

“Some of the members of Just Good Friends are in their 80s and they all said how lovely the Diversity lads are, they loved them. There were a lot of group hugs!

“The whole thing was down to my daughter Gemma, and I can’t thank her enough.”

Daughter Gemma, 32, said: “I just did it while I was pregnant with our second child. At the end of the last series it asked for nominations and I wanted to thank mum for everything she’s done.

“Just Good Friends is amazing. She founded it after her mum died and decided she didn’t want anyone else to have to feel the same.

“It helps so many people now, sending out birthday cards to everyone – and some members never used to get one. On the day I had to take her for a coffee and she got a call asking her to pop in, while I was in the loo with a sound technician getting a microphone on and wired up.

“When Diversity came out she was jumping up and down on the spot.

“It was a brilliant day for her, and I’m so proud of her.”

• See Bev on Surprise Surprise on ITV, Sunday, at 8pm

‘Typical she put community first’

John Burgess, chairman of the Friends of St Annes Palace, where Bev’s group Just Good Friends meet every Wednesday, said: “The first thing that Bev said to me as she came off the set of Surprise Surprise at The St Annes Palace was – ‘won’t this be great publicity for our Palace Community Hub project’. This is typical of a lady that puts the community first and her needs second.

“ I know from talking to the Just Good friends Group just how much belonging to this group means to them, how much they think of Bev and how much they enjoyed being involved in the production.”