A breast cancer survivor who battled through unusual symptoms to marry her long-term partner rubbed shoulders with celebrities at a glitzy fundraiser las week.

Alison Willis was asked to be a model at Breast Cancer Cares show at at Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster on October 4.

The Loughton resident was one of 32 models who have beaten breast cancer and who strutted their stuff in a black tie and ball gown fashion event presented by Claudia Winkleman, Denise Lewis and Diana Moran.

Despite regularly checking herself for lumps, Mrs Willis, 53, discovered she had cancer only when experiencing sharp pain after she touched her otherwise normal looking breasts.

A visit to the one stop clinic at St Margaret's Hospital in Epping, an ultrasound scan and biopsies confirmed the retired paramedic had invasive ductal cancer - an aggressive form that can show no external signs.

She said: "It was a devastating blow to be diagnosed with it and also to know I now needed a mastectomy due to the spread, as well as having 28 lymph glands removed.

"I had immediate reconstruction in the same eight hour surgery at Broomfield Hospital followed by six months of chemo and three weeks of radiotherapy.

"My beautiful long blonde hair was completely gone 10 days after my first chemo.

"Despite the shock of my diagnosis, the blow was greatly softened with the speed and efficiency of the outstanding service I received from my GP Dr Ahmed and the Epping Breast Unit at St. Margaret's Hospital."

Well on the road to recovery, Mrs Willis married her partner Geoffrey in August 2014 and lost two and a half stone in a bid to become more healthy.

Last week she and 31 other survivors enjoyed entertainment courtesy of The Overtones and Alexandra Burke at the ball, after which host Vanessa Feltz came backstage to meet the models.

Mrs Willis said: "In the finale, I was positioned just above TOWIE's table, where Lydia Bright, her mother Debbie Douglas - who is a strong supporter of breast cancer charities - and Danielle Armstrong were sat.

"They caught my eye and shouted how fabulous and brave we were.

"I mouthed back I was from Loughton and they jumped to their feet and cheered."

Also gracing the event was BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire, Amy Tapper from Gogglebox and fashion designer Hilary Alexander OBE, who dressed the models.

The show raised nearly £300, 000 for Breast Cancer Cares, which provides women and men with support and guidance from diagnosis, throughout treatment and beyond.