Sometimes its really nice to be able to give back, and Abi Neill was so inspired by the Help For Heroes charity that it was decided that it was time that something fabulous was done to raise money for the cause.
On the 10th of November 2013 Colchester based Abi and her bridal and menswear business ‘Abigail’s Collection & The Groom’s Room’ threw a red carpet charity event at the historic Prested Hall and played host to a 100 guests at their exciting wedding themed fundraiser.
Abi, Owner of the multi award winning bridal business goes on to explain; ‘Brides constantly tell us that they would love to wear their wedding dresses again! Over the years I can honestly say we’ve heard it virtually weekly!”
“Our charity party was all about raising funds for Help For Heroes and in particular Chavasse VC House in Colchester (one of the UK’s four Help For Heroes recovery centres) but our party also gave our customers and business friends the very best excuse to dust off our dresses, pop back on our tiaras and get together for a really splendid wedding dress bash’!”
The Mission of Help for Heroes is to deliver an enduring national network of support for our wounded and their families. The charity aims to inspire and enable those who have made sacrifices on our behalf to achieve their full potential.
The war in Afghanistan may be nearly over, but for those who have suffered life-changing injuries, their battles are just beginning. Help for Heroes will not let them fight these battles alone.
Chavasse VC House is a Recovery Centre run by Help for Heroes in the Garrison town of Colchester which forms part of the Defence Recovery Capability.
The Centre supports key parts of the recovery process by providing 360 degree holistic care to those who have suffered life changing injuries and illnesses as a result of their service for our country.
Residents and day visitors at Chavasse VC House can take part in activities and life skills courses to help them get back out doing what they enjoy most.
The new skills and adaptive hobbies that residents learn are designed to act as a ‘launch-pad to life” and are availble for the wounded and their families for the rest of their lives.
And so back to the Fundraiser and what an party it was, with an electric atmosphere!
Guests arrived at Prested Hall which was spotlit in dramatic blue and red Help For Heroes themed colours and paparazzi style photographers Darius Laws and Simon Brasier snapped away at Essex ‘have been Brides’ who arrived dressed top to toe in their original wedding day finery.
The main event took place in the Orangery and the Oak Room where many county based wedding businesses had pulled together to help create the fantastic event and keep guests entertained including Dreamwave Events who MC’d and DJ’d for the evening.
Four Ace Entertainment wowed guests with their impressive card magic and Aurora Pearl were party booth hosts and showed off their newest entertainment system which produces personalised video flick books.
X Factor stars ‘Next of Kin’ who are due to release their newest single ‘Can’t Find Me’ and are avid Help for Heroes supporters are participating this week in music workshops at Chavasse VC House which offers those who have suffered life changing injuries and illnesses with facilities and on-going support.
Despite the band’s hectic promotional work schedule following the recent launch of their ‘Pledge Music Campaign’ they were delighted to be asked to perform at the event; Band member Nathan Bass enthusiastically said “It’s such a fantastic cause and we really wanted to be involved. Abigail’s Collection arranged such an excellent evening. We really enjoyed spending time with the guests after our performance, it was brilliant and very surreal seeing so many Brides in one place’.
Help For Heroes County Co-ordinator Sue Morgan was also very impressed with the evening and was invited to say a few words on behalf of the charity during the event, she then went on to tell us; ‘The event has raised circa £2800 and proceeds will go towards the much wanted activity wall and landscaping that is due to be carried out at Chavasse VC House in Colchester,”
“I can see that a great deal of work has gone into the evening with everyone looking absolutely marvellous. It is with thanks to businesses such as Abigail’s Collection that we are able to provide our Guys with the care and facilities that really provide the best possible chance of a fulfilling future’.
And so the question is will Abigail’s Collection make this an annual fundraising event?
Abi Neill commented “We’re very proud of our charity effort and it was an incredible amount of fun and only made possible by Prested Hall and all of our business friends who so generously donated their time for this cause.”
“Seeing all of those Brides in their dresses again was really exciting! No doubt it could well become an annual county event but for now we are just very excited to celebrate what has been a terrific and successful Help for Heroes fundraiser.”
“It was so fabulous wearing my own wedding dress again too… I think I’ll very carefully pack it away again in-case it’s needed again next year.”
Over £2800 was donated on the night which is an incredible amount and will go to helping British servicemen and women when they need it most.
If you would like to Support Help for Heroes further, please DONATE
Event Supplier Credits
Organisation – Abi Neill of Abigails Collection
Photography – Simon on & Hayley Brasier – EPS Photography
Flowers – Anne Goldschmidt – Flowers by Anne
DJ, MC’s and Venue Decor – Dreamwave Events
Party booth hosts & Video Flick Books – Aurora Pearl
Videographer – Humble Productions
Magicians – Four Ace Entertainment Card Magicians
Cupcakes – Vanilla & Ivory
Butlers – Butlers in the Buff Mitchell and James
Sue Morgan from Help For Heroes