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Mother of three launches 'pre-loved prom' to help students afford frocks

PUBLISHED: 13:45 11 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:17 11 February 2019

Hannah Kemp, left, bridesmaid dress specialist, helps Charlotte McCourt try on prom dresses at Dreams Bridal in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Hannah Kemp, left, bridesmaid dress specialist, helps Charlotte McCourt try on prom dresses at Dreams Bridal in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A Wymondham mother of three is on a mission to make sure no student misses their end of year prom because they can’t afford a dress.

Gemma Wood from Wymondham High Academy set up the 'pre-loved prom' to help studets afford dresses. Photo: SubmittedGemma Wood from Wymondham High Academy set up the 'pre-loved prom' to help studets afford dresses. Photo: Submitted

Gemma Wood has worked at Wymondham High Academy for five years, starting a new role as a student support worker in September 2018.

Over the years she said she has seen families struggle to find the money for prom outfits, often forced to make sacrifices in other areas to pay a dress which will only be worn once.

In a stand against the pressure to buy new, Mrs Wood has launched a dress loaning shop, which will give students the option to put a deposit down on a frock which they will get back once it is returned.

The mother-of-three said: “Nobody should miss out on being involved in school life because they can’t afford it.

Three dresses donated to Wymondham High's 'pre-loved prom' for students struggling to afford a new outfit. Photo: SubmittedThree dresses donated to Wymondham High's 'pre-loved prom' for students struggling to afford a new outfit. Photo: Submitted

“There’s a pressure on all of us to look nice but especially on your last day of school – everyone deserves to feel amazing at our prom.”

Mrs Wood started by trawling Facebook selling pages and asking people to consider donating their worn dresses, which received overwhelmingly positive responses.

Dreams Bridal in Norwich and Azalea Bridal in Wymondham also donated 20 brand new dresses, bringing the total to more than 60 different outfits in a range of styles, colours and sizes.

The Wymondham support worker said the biggest challenge had been finding the a spectrum of sizes, but that thanks to the influx of donations there would be something for everyone.

Although many students don’t know about the project yet, Mrs Wood said she had a small team of year 11s helping her publicise by tweeting through the school’s twitter and posting on Facebook.

Mrs Wood added: “One of the best things about it is that because none of the dresses are from this year’s high street they will be really unique to any that were bought new.

“There’s a real trend for vintage and one off fashion and people don’t want to spend a fortune on clothes, we’re proud when we get a bargain.”

Anyone wishing to donate a dress should contact Gemma Wood at Wymondham High Academy on 01953 602078.

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