White Weddings!

Here’s a nice story by Katie Dawson at BBC News it was sent me by my cousin Marion.

“It is the most important and expensive dress that most women will ever buy. But once the band has packed up and the confetti has blown away, most wedding dresses spend their years packed in a box in a dusty attic.

Now a Berkshire charity is offering a new lease of life for these beloved items – helping rural communities in the African country of Zambia. Abi Parker, 46, runs the Aids Support Awareness Project (ASAP) from her home in Windsor and is in need of wedding dresses to take to brides in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.

Ms Parker plans to rent out the dresses for a small fee, which will help fund her Aids awareness project, along with a local training scheme which teaches former prostitutes skills to allow them to earn an alternative income. “It’s an African woman’s dream to get married in a white wedding dress,” said Ms Parker, who lived in Zimbabwe for 10 years. “It’s a sign of stature”.

“By doing this we are giving people, who could not usually afford it, the opportunity to get married in a white dress.” So far, more than 60 dresses, donated from across the UK, have been taken over there. Some are from brides desperate to get rid of their dresses following a marriage breakdown and others are from women keen to pass on an item of clothing that brought them so much joy.

Sue Lovell, who runs Savvy Cinderella, a bridal shop, near March, in Cambridgeshire, has been collecting dresses for Ms Parker. Everyone wants to feel like a princess whether you live in Zambia or Cambridgeshire the 44-year-old said: “Everyone wants to feel like a princess whether you live in Zambia or Cambridgeshire. “It’s just something that every bride needs and I think this is a perfect charity.” After putting an appeal on her website, Ms Lovell received dresses from women all over the UK, as well as Russia, Canada and Norway.

Some are modern dresses, while others date back to the 1950s and 1960s. The oldest dress donated was made in 1937, and came with its original pattern. Ms Lovell said the most expensive dress given cost £2,000 when bought new. “We have had such a huge range of donations,” she said. “We have had some absolutely gorgeous ones from ladies who have been married for 40 or 50 years.

Ms Parker flies to Zambia on Friday with another load of dresses. ASAP hopes to start hiring them out in the next couple of weeks, once their new shop is completed.”

Now there’s something exciting for the Chanters Girls!