THE ladies were loving ex-Boyzone star Keith Duffy for a very good reason as he helped Rossendale Hospice smooch its way to raising almost £20,000 at a charity event.

The singer and actor was the auctioneer at the annual Christmas Ladies’ Lunch at Nino’s Restaurant in Rawtenstall – boosting the bidding war by offering kisses to those who bid over £500.

Lots for sal at the glamorous lunch included a cut and style for 12 months at hairdressers Freddie’s, a trip to a log cabin in Windermere, Manchester United tickets and a tour of Coronation Street, where Keith played ladies’ man chef Ciaran.

Sam Morris, community fundraising manager at the hospice, said the money raised would provide a timely boost at a difficult time of the year.

She said: “The event was a massive success and Keith was a huge hit with the ladies.

“We raised £19,000 which is fantastic. I’d like to thank everyone who came along and gave so generously. The money from events such as this are a huge help, and is particularly appreciated around Christmas time which is a very poignant and emotional time for many.

“The money will enable us to continue to provide services for our patients and their families which include Hospice At Home care, day therapy and offering all the support we can possibly give to both the patient, families and carers.

“I would also like to say a massive thank you to our special events committee who organised this event – we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Keith – who’s chart toppers with the band included So Good and Love Me For A Reason – co-hosted the event with Giles Miller, while table favours and gifts were provided by East Lancashire companies Precious, of Whalley, and Bricknalls Sweets, based in Waterfoot.

The hospice is already planning a bumper year of fundraising in 2013 to celebrate its 25th birthday, with the Rossendale Woman of the Year event planned for April 25 and the Annual Ball on September 21.