A FUNERAL service was transformed into a “farewell party” to celebrate the life of a Bury businesswoman who lost her 18-month battle with ovarian cancer.

Elaine Donaldson, who since 1996 had run her own Tottington Road-based Cheerz Balloons and Fancy Dress company, died last month at Bury Hospice.

She leaves three children, Kelly, Lee and Stacey, five grandchildren and partner, Ian Cryer.

At a “celebration of life” service held at the East Lancashire Crematorium in Radcliffe on Friday, 55 red balloons were released to mark each year of Elaine’s life.

Born in Salford, one of six children, she moved to Bury aged nine and was a hairdresser before working in a card and party store.

This gave her the inspiration to start her own business. Elaine went on to become the leading celebration balloon and fancy dress supplier in Bury.

Cllr Yvonne Wright said: “Elaine was a very valued friend and also worked with me on many charity events.

She created displays with hundreds of black balloons for our black pudding eating competition when we appeared on Granada Reports and made a gigantic Pudsey Bear when we organised a fundraiser for Children in Need.

It was Elaine who held a workshop to teach volunteers to giftwrap which has helped the Blind Society to establish a very lucrative fundraising stream with Christmas giftwrapping for the past eight years. Many have much to thank her for.”

Last August, Elaine was one of six cancer survivors to take part in a fashion show at the Village Hotel in Bury to help raise £6,000 for Bury Cancer Support Centre.

Daughter Stacey said: “The farewell party at the crematorium was full of fun and laughter and mum would have loved it.”