Residents at Speedwell Court, a care home for older people in Southampton’s West End, took to the catwalk for a Fashion Fundraiser sponsored by Devernois.

Speedwell Court partnered with fellow charity the Murray Parish Trust (MPT) for the event. The Trust raises money across the South of England to help ensure that children with major trauma can receive the best emergency care, as close to home as possible.

The Fashion Fundraiser is the second such event that Speedwell Court has hosted. Originally intended as an annual show, the first was held in 2019, but COVID-19 restrictions have prevented it from being held in the last two years.

It is wonderful to be able to host a fashion show here at Speedwell Court once again, which we hope will become a more regular tradition and one of various community events we will be hosting over the next 12 months. We’re also proud to partner with the Murray Parish Trust and are grateful to our sponsors for enabling us to hold such a fabulous event. We’ve been looking forward to the show for ages, especially after having to cancel the last two years. The evening was a tremendous success and a truly memorable experience for our residents, especially Barbara, who had a fashion makeover and joined the professionals on the runway.

Deborah Holmes, Abbeyfield Customer Relations Manager
Barbara added, “It was a real surprise to be invited to have a makeover. I was made to feel very special and I’m so glad to have been involved.”

The Fashion Fundraiser is the second time this year that Speedwell Court and the MPT have worked together, with the home having sponsored a sculpture for the Hares of Hampshire art trail coordinated by the MPT over the summer in Southampton and Winchester. Proceeds from the fashion show were split between the two organisations, and actress Sarah Parish, who co-founded the MPT, gave a short presentation about the wide range of fundraising events the Trust supports to raise money for the paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital.

The event, which began with a prosecco and canapés reception, was sponsored by French fashion label Devernois, whose boutique in Southampton is one of just two in the UK selling their exclusive brand. Speedwell Court residents joined professional models on the catwalk to exhibit the latest pieces from the AW22 ranges, from outdoor wear to evening dress. Devernois also donated a £100 gift voucher and a silk scarf for the raffle.

Guests were further entertained by a special live sponsored challenge during the show, run by local business Always Glamorous by Susan, with donations going to the two charities. Sue has been hairdressing for 30 years and, when she told a couple of her clients at Speedwell Court that she could do their hair blindfolded, they called her bluff!  Sue was been challenged to “put her boast to the test”, with resident Joan as her model.

All the guests also received a goodie-bag, which included an AW22 catalogue, limited edition designer notebook, toiletries donated by The White Company, a Hares of Hampshire mug (featuring Speedwell Court’s hare, ‘Forget Me Not’), and some Lindt chocolate.

Barbara’s daughter Diane, who watched her mother on the runway, commented, “It was so lovely to see mum up there enjoying the moment. She remembered Sharon [the Devernois owner] from the visits we used to make to the Devernois store in Bedford Place, so it was nice for her to see a familiar face for her makeover and recall all the lovely clothes she bought.”

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