IT is supposed to be the most beautiful dress a woman ever wears.
But Holly Stocker has no problem ruining her wedding dress for a good cause.
The 23-year-old dental nurse is taking part in the Daily Echo-backed Rainbow Run, organised by Hampshire children’s hospice Naomi House, where the participants are pelted with paint.
And Holly will don her ivory gown for the first time since her wedding to husband Craig in July. She did not want to reveal how much the dress had cost but said it was “hundreds of pounds.”
She is running in memory of her niece Ellie, who was helped by Naomi House after she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a disease that causes muscle weakness and loss of movement.
Holly said: “When my beautiful niece, Ellie, was diagnosed with SMA at just a few months old, Naomi House helped my brother and his girlfriend through this extremely difficult time.
“She was able to enjoy the amazing sensory room and pool. When Ellie passed away, my brother and his girlfriend were able to stay with her at Naomi House until her funeral. I’d like to give back to Naomi House by doing this run and raising as much money as I can.”
Holly, of Salisbury, added: “Craig’s all for it. We can’t keep the dress anywhere because it’s so big, so I thought it would be nice to do something for charity. My family think it’s great.
“A couple of people have told me not to ruin the dress but I really wanted to do something unusual.”
She is one of 400 people to sign up to the event so far and is likely to be the best-dressed.
But organisers want to recruit 1,000 people for the race and are urging more people to follow Holly’s example.
Fundraiser Keith Wilson, senior communications officer at Naomi House, added: “Everybody here at the hospices agree that it is a really fun way for Holly to say goodbye to her wedding gown and we can’t wait to see her on her second big day.”
The run is a major fundraiser for Naomi House’s Caterpillar Appeal raising £4m to refurbish the 17-year-old hospice based near Winchester.
Major construction work has already begun and plans include increasing the size of bedrooms and creating new play and music therapy spaces.
To sponsor Holly and support the Naomi House Caterpillar Appeal visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ weddingdress. To sign up for the Southampton Rainbow Run on September 7 visit caterpillarappeal.org.uk.