Say I do to a charity donation

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A CHARITY is calling on brides to donate their flowing gowns – and help keep an air ambulance in operation.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has called on North East women to raid their wardrobes and come up with bridal wear for an auction planned near Hartlepool later this year.

All proceeds from the fundraiser with a difference on Sunday, October 30, will go towards the operational costs of the air ambulance.

Bridal businesses are also being invited to get involved in the campaign.

The appeal is said to have got off to a flying start after hundreds of new bridal, bridesmaid, mother-of-the-bride and even school prom outfits were donated by a dress store which had gone into liquidation. Hats and accessories were also donated.

All will either be auctioned or sold at the event, which takes place at Hardwick Hall Hotel near Sedgefield.

Mandy Drake, fundraising manager at GNAAS, said additional donations from other businesses and individuals would be warmly welcomed.

She added: “Across the 8,000 square mile area that our fleet of helicopters cover, there must be many thousands of wedding and prom dresses gathering dust in wardrobes.

“We want to give them a new life by offering them for sale to brides and prom queens-to-be.

“Anyone donating can do so in the knowledge that the money raised will go towards supporting a life-saving charity here in the North-East.”

The new items already in stock feature designs by Phil Collins, Benjamin Roberts, Condici, Isobella and Special Day.

Mrs Drake expressed thanks to the generous dress donor, who had wished to remain anonymous.

She added: “This was an incredible gesture from a lady who thought of the charity in a time of difficult personal circumstances.

“The existing stock is all new and all high-quality. There are some real bargains to be had.”

The wedding fair will run from 10am-4pm with a fashion show, exhibitors’ stalls and auction taking place over the course of the day.

Entry is free, although donations will be welcomed. Registration is now open, with a chance to win a holiday for two.

To register, for more information, or to donate an item to the cause, call GNAAS on (01325) 487263.