Wed­ding gowns un­der ham­mer for char­ity

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

Most brides want their wed­ding day to be all about them.

But buy­ing their wed­ding gown from the St An­drew’s Church Straw­berry Fair auc­tion means they’ll also be help­ing good causes.

Well-known New­mar­ket de­signer Rose­mary Smith has do­nated two of her gowns to the Ep­som church for its Novem­ber auc­tion.

Pro­ceeds will help re­fur­bish the church hall, sup­port the Books in Prison Trust, Auck­land City Mis­sion and the Angli­can Trust for Women and Chil­dren.

Ms Smith’s dresses and cloth­ing have graced some of the coun­try’s big­gest stars, in­clud­ing Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and more re­cently, All Black Joe Roko­coko’s bride Bev­er­ley Poli­tini.

She also made the replica of Princess Diana’s wed­ding dress that ap­peared in the Farm­ers win­dow af­ter the royal wed­ding.

Al­though not a mem­ber of the con­gre­ga­tion, Ms Smith has been in­volved with St An­drew’s in dif­fer­ent ways since 1954.

“I used to stay with a cousin who lived op­po­site it. As a teenager I would sit looking at the brides com­ing out of the church. I loved St An­drew’s.”

Ev­ery year she do­nates a dress to a wor­thy cause, of­ten to the Auck­land SPCA to be auc­tioned as a fundraiser.

“It’s just some­thing you can do,” she says.

Ms Smith made a wed­ding dress two years ago for parish­ioner Jamie Muller, who is or­gan­is­ing items for the auc­tion, and of­fered to do­nate the gowns.

“I was com­pletely over­whelmed,” says Mrs Muller.

The pub­lic can look at the dresses, a size 10 to 12 and a 12 to 14, be­fore they go un­der the ham­mer.

They will fea­ture in a wed­ding gown ex­hi­bi­tion at the church’s Septem­ber Fes­ti­val – or­gan­ised by fel­low parish­ioner Jan­ice Chan­dler.

Around 20 gowns, the old­est a frag­ile lace dress from 1940, will be dis­played in a flow­er­filled church.

They in­clude gowns Mrs Chan­dler has col­lected dur­ing her trav­els, in­clud­ing dresses from Uzbek­istan, Iran, In­dia, a Be­douin en­sem­ble from the Mid­dle East and one from a mi­nor­ity Chi­nese group called the Miao.

She heads over­seas once a year on hol­i­day, col­lect­ing in­ter­est­ing clothes and wed­ding dresses where she can.

The rest of the dresses are on loan from parish­ioners, friends and fam­ily.

The ex­hi­bi­tion opens on Fri­day and runs dur­ing the week­end, with en­try by do­na­tion. The auc­tion will be held in early Novem­ber.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact the church on 638-8264.

Photo: JANIE SMITH

Gor­geous gowns: From left: De­signer Rose­mary Smith, Jamie Muller and Jan­ice Chan­dler with the gowns to be auc­tioned at St An­drew’s Church.

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