A Disney-loving bride has set up her own Cinderella style initiative to enable disadvantaged teenagers to go to the ball.
Preston nurse Louise Ironfield is determined no teenager need feel barred from their school leaving prom because they cannot afford a special dress.
She got inspiration for the “You Shall Go To The Ball” posh frocks donation service after getting married last summer. It was launched on Facebook just weeks ago.
The-28 year-old said: “I got married in August and realised how expensive the dresses were. I had five bridesmaids’ dresses to buy. Afterwards I thought we’ve brought these beautiful dresses and they are just going to sit in a wardrobe. I thought about all the children I’ve worked with. My mum’s a social worker and has worked with a lot of charities. I’ve helped with charities including ones with young carers and children with disability and a lot of projects with needy children.”
That, coupled with seeing her little sister get ready for her prom and adding up how much it cost, led to her new help service.
The mental health nurse explained: “My little sister’s prom dress was £300, transport was £200 and hair and makeup about £150. I just thought how can those families afford to send their kids to prom?”
She had looked in her wardrobe and saw other lovely dresses she had worn for special events but never worn again and said: “I thought if I’ve got these dresses I’m sure other people do."
Within weeks of launching she had 70 beautiful gowns and frocks, with the collection boosted by donations from Enchanted Brides in Lostock Hall and Amelia Bridals of Clitheroe.
Louise is now in contact with local schools and charities and has dresses in size 4 to 22 stored in her spare room.
She said: “I only accept referrals by professionals so that I know it’s a genuine referral.”
She added: “I think it’s a Cinderella moment, I felt like an absolute Princess on my wedding day and it’s got to be the same for Prom.”
The dresses have been initially stored in her spare room. As for her husband Anthony , she said: “It’s lucky he’s very supportive. I’m in the process of organising some storage. It’s a temporary measure…I think he would quite like his games room back at some point!”
She added: “There are so many brave and extraordinary girls across Lancashire who may not be able to go their proms for reasons out of their control. I’m overwhelmed by the response, but I’m just hoping it can help as many girls as possible.”
To donate a dress see www.youshallgototheball.com or see Facebook https://www.facebook.com/youshallgototheballlancashire/