Bridal room boom after Paulette's dress goes viral
30 January 2017
The bridal department of our Canterbury shop has seen a boom, after a mystery benefactor donated a dress bought with Demelza lottery winnings.
Paulette Philpott scooped £1,000 in our weekly lottery - the same day she spied her dream dress in a Maidstone bridal shop.
Following her wedding, in June 2015, she decided to donate the dress back to Demelza to sell in its Canterbury bridal boutique.
The only problem was - she didn't leave her name, so we mounted a major search to find her, starting with the bridal shop and ending with the local press.
Paulette was duly found and, when news of her generous gesture - and how she came by the Stella York dress - hit the headlines, the Canterbury shop was besieged by customers wanting to take a look.
Paulette, 58, said:"I’ve done the lottery for years, not because I want to win, but to support the charity.
"The dress I really loved was two pounds short of £1,000. It seemed an awful lot to pay for something you only wear once. When I got home and opened the post and there was a cheque for £1,000 I could barely believe my eyes.
It was as if it was meant to be – and meant I could buy my dress.”
Paulette and her partner Mal tied the knot at Upchurch River Valley Golf Club in June 2015.
Paulette said: “We had quite a big wedding, with five bridesmaids, who all looked gorgeous – but the dress made my day absolutely perfect.
"Afterwards, it hung around at my mum’s for a while, then in my wardrobe, taking up space.
"In the end, I decided it would be nice if I could give it to someone else to make their day just as special as mine had been.”
The dress is now among dozens of beautiful gowns in Demelza’s charity shop in Burgate, Canterbury, which has a specialist bridal department, selling beautiful new and pre-loved wedding gowns priced from £80 - £500.
Shop manager Lauren Ashby said: “It was a lovely gesture for this lady to give the dress back to us – I’m sure it won’t be long before it is snapped up!”
Paulette's story was featured on ITV Meridian News and the Otford shop Brides Dress Revisited has offered to donate unsold and unclaimed stock to Demelza's bridal room.
Paulette, from Sittingbourne, said: It’s lovely to be able to give something back. Demelza does such amazing work.”
Demelza’s lottery awards a £1,000 prize each week, as well as a host of other smaller prizes. Subscribers to the weekly Lotto are also eligible to join the Superdraw, with a chance of winning a £25,000 prize.