Charity shop's perfect wedding gift

WITH metres of cascading satin, layers of glitter and pearls and the finest silk that money can buy on display, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped into a luxury wedding boutique.

By Danielle Nuttall

WITH metres of cascading satin, layers of glitter and pearls and the finest silk that money can buy on display, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped into a luxury wedding boutique.

But these stunning gowns are actually being showcased behind the doors of an Ipswich charity shop.

Julie Wardley, manager of The Salvation Army charity shop in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, was delighted when a wedding shop owner telephoned to say she had “a few bits” she was willing to donate.


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The shop manager expected perhaps one of two frocks but was left speechless when a delivery van arrived brimming with the kind of luxury wedding dresses you would expect to see on television series Footballers' Wives.

It took shop volunteers two trips to be able to collect all of the glamorous attire being handed over, and staff have now had to clear a whole room on the second floor of the premises to squeeze them all in.

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The gowns were donated by Maureen Wright, owner of All Special Occasions in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich.

The 76-year-old decided to have a big clear out as she approaches retirement and wanted to give the stock to charity rather than sell it off herself.

The mass of satin presented to the charity shop is worth thousands of pounds and includes no fewer than 52 wedding dresses of all shapes and sizes, 47 bridesmaid dresses, 21 pageboy outfits and 42 evening dresses.

“It's tremendous. They're just beautiful,” said Ms Wardley yesterday.

“It will certainly help the shop's takings. We've had some wonderful things given to us but nothing quite on this size.

“There were so many, we haven't got the room to fit them in the shop so I've had to empty a room upstairs. Some have beautiful trains, some are short, some are long and they are all different sizes.

“We're always having people popping in and saying: 'Do you have wedding dresses for sale?' It will be absolutely fabulous to say: 'We have a room upstairs, come and have a look'.”

Mrs Wright said there was no danger of her own shop running out of stock now that she had given away so many beautiful dresses.

“It's just a drop in the ocean. I shall be having my own sale shortly,” she said.

“The idea was to try and help someone. When I was a little girl in the war, The Salvation Army was always there looking after people. I admire it so much and I think they do a wonderful job.

“I have to retire shortly because of a knee replacement so we thought we would have a grand sort out and the chaps nearly passed out when they saw what they had to carry out. But if it helps someone, I am pleased.”

Mrs Wright handed over several wedding dresses to the same shop three years ago.

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