Trio of local women take to the stage for Courage on the Catwalk

A trio of women from the local area will take to the stage next month for North-east charity, Friends of ANCHOR.

The much-loved North-east fashion show, Courage on the Catwalk, returns in May, with the three local ladies joining the line-up.

Susan Davidson (56), Joyce McKessick (66) and Fiona Murdo (49), are among the 24 women making their modelling debut on of May 6 and 7 at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom.

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Each of the 24 women taking part has at some point faced a cancer or haematology diagnosis in their life, whether they are currently receiving treatment, living with their diagnosis, or sharing their story of hope from receiving the all-clear.

Susan clearly enjoying herself.Susan clearly enjoying herself.
Susan clearly enjoying herself.

For Susan from Peterhead, receiving a cancer diagnosis is something that has happened to her not just once, but three times.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, aged just 35. Her treatment included a lumpectomy and radiotherapy, but two years later she was given the devastating news the cancer had returned.

At this stage she underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, but in 2022, cancer reared its head again, with Susan receiving a third diagnosis of breast cancer.

Susan said: “A cancer diagnosis of any kind is life changing. You change your outlook on life and take stock of everything and make changes.”

Susan gets to grips with some catwalk moves.Susan gets to grips with some catwalk moves.
Susan gets to grips with some catwalk moves.

By modelling in this year’s line-up, Susan is keen to raise funds for a charity that supported her throughout treatment.

She said: “Having been on the receiving end of what Friends of ANCHOR do has been mind-blowing.

"It’s a local charity which helps local people.”

Susan is no stranger to fundraising for the cause, having taken part in the charity’s ‘Going the Distance’ campaign in March last year.

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Fiona Murdo is put through her paces.Fiona Murdo is put through her paces.
Fiona Murdo is put through her paces.

Joining Susan in the model line-up is Fiona from Fraserburgh, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.

By taking to the stage, she hopes to honour the many family members she’s lost to cancer, while celebrating her own message of hope – of coming through the other side of a diagnosis.

Fiona hopes the event will bring a welcome confidence boost too.

She said: “I’d love to show how far I’ve come since being diagnosed, and I hope to gain more confidence and not be scared to try new things.”

Fiona has been doing just that at rehearsals so far, with four under her belt and one more to go until the big show weekend in May.

She’s a familiar face to the team at Friends of ANCHOR, having been a dedicated member of the charity’s Brew + Blether coffee mornings, which launched on Zoom during the first lockdown of 2020.

She credits the charity and ANCHOR staff with making her feel ‘normal’ and helping to settle the nerves that accompany treatment.

“They were willing to take the time to explain everything, and they created a feeling of hope and laughter in the ANCHOR Unit.

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"The mindfulness course Friends of ANCHOR provides has helped by reducing my stress and keeping me in the moment.”

As Fiona embarks on her confidence journey, her fellow model Joyce from Boddam is on a mission to get outside of her comfort zone.

During her treatment for gynecological cancer in 2021, Joyce became aware of Friends of ANCHOR during visits for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and brachytherapy.

Joyce said: “Every team member was amazing, helpful, approachable and friendly.”

Joyce wears her appreciation for the charity on her sleeve – quite literally, with Friends of ANCHOR’s signature trio of tulips tattooed on her arm.

Susan and Joyce have both set up fundraising pages for the event, can be visited at: s davidson is fundraising for Friends of ANCHOR (; Joyce McKessick is fundraising for Friends of ANCHOR (

Courage on the Catwalk is one of the charity’s most significant events, with total audience numbers over 11,000.

In the lead up to the shows, all the models have been professionally trained by Premiere Productions UK, giving them that extra boost of confidence to strut the stage.

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Now in its ninth year, Courage on the Catwalk has raised a total of £889,400 since 2013. (with two years off due to covid).

Every penny raised will go directly to Friends of ANCHOR’s £2 million ‘Anchored Together’ appeal to provide additional enhancements for The ANCHOR Centre, which will house all day and outpatient facilities for oncology and haematology patients.

There is limited availability for the two Sunday performances of Courage on the Catwalk.

People wishing to purchase tickets should visit

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