Donation of 35 wedding dresses boosts charity shop funds

Daily Echo: Donation of 35 wedding dresses boosts charity shop funds Donation of 35 wedding dresses boosts charity shop funds

THEY are not exactly something old, borrowed or indeed blue, but these wedding dresses will certainly give a Hampshire charity reason to celebrate this new year. Business is booming for the Naomi House charity shop after it was given 35 wedding gowns, shoes and flower girl outfits by the owners of a bridal store.

Now the dresses are set to bring in an estimated £14,000 for the children’s hospice near Sutton Scotney.

The shop, on St George’s Street in Winchester, was given outfits when owners of bridal store The Ivory Boutique, based in the city, gave away former display gowns.

Andrea Balmer, store manager at Naomi House, received a call from the bridal store owner, Sarah Grieves, asking if she could take on the stock.

Andrea could barely contain her excitement when the owner came down to deliver the gowns, some of which were worth as much as £2,000 each.

Ms Balmer said: “It’s mad! We’ve already had so much interest.

“One woman was banging on the door before I’d even opened.

“This has never happened before, well at least not to this scale.”

Ms Balmer said the gowns should fetch up to £400, bringing in £14,000.

That doesn’t include the bridal shoes and 11 flower girl dresses that were also donated, some of which are the same design as those seen in the royal wedding of Will and Kate.

“It will be a fantastic start to a new appeal that’s being launched next year, where we aim to raise £4m for Naomi House,” she said. “I think it’s just made everyone so happy.”

Within a short time of opening Ms Balmer said even more people came forward offering their own wedding dresses and goods to the shop.

“I was given a beautiful old rocking horse and then someone saw it and said they didn’t realise we take them so gave in theirs too.

“Then another person saw the second one and brought in theirs. In the end it meant we ended up having a £3,500 week.”

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