A group of mums are having a ball with the aim of raising £10,000 to back charities which every family hopes they will never need.
Stillbirth, cot death, miscarriage and pre-term birth are all devastating experiences which the organisers of tonight's Bridezilla Ball are sadly familiar with.
But they have decided to challenge these with positive action by arranging the ball in aid of Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) Pembrokeshire; Withybush Special Care Baby Unit and FSID (Foundation for the Study of Infant Death).
The Bridezilla Ball is encouraging guests to don their wedding party dress of choice to party the night away with a three-course meal and dancing at Narberth’s Hotel Plas Hyfryd.
“The event is a lot of fun, but its aim is a serious one,”
said one of the organisers, Nicola Merriman of Ludchurch, whose little boy, Conor, was born ten weeks early. After being nursed back to health at the Withybush unit, he is now a bouncing eleven-month-old.
Nicola, marketing manager at Princes Gate Spring Water, had also suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks in her second pregnancy the previous year, and it was her friend, Hayley Vallance, of Robeston Wathen, who came up with the idea of the fundraising ball.
“What makes this so incredibly amazing and selfless is the fact that Hayley had suffered the devastation of a stillbirth of her son George at 41 weeks,“ said Nicola, who is ‘overwhelmed’ by her friend’s strength.
Hayley – who has two other youngsters – hopes that some of the money raised will help create a ‘cold cot’ area at Withybush for grieving parents and their babies, as well as fund post-natal grief counselling services in Pembrokeshire.
Nicola’s sister-in-law, Claire Lewis, who has three children and friend Kelly Philpin, a mum-of-two, from Narberth are also working to organise the ball, with special memories of ninemonth- old Steffan, the son of their friends Ali and Jadie Colley of Hundleton, who died suddenly in 2008.
Local support for The Bridezilla Ball has been massive, said Nicola.
“Tickets are all but sold out, and people are stopping us in the street to offer their help.
“We hope that the ball will not only raise lots of money but will also raise awareness of pregnancy and birth problems and to lessen the stigma that often surrounds such matters.”
The evening will also feature an auction, with so much up for grabs - including villa holidays and a meal for ten at the Scarlets club - that it has already got underway on the Bridezilla Ball Facebook page. Raffle tickets are also on sale throughout Narberth or from the organisers.
For more information, contact Hotel Plas Hyfryd on 01834 86900