May 1, 2011 at 11:22 am (America, bipolar, Charity, Computing, Cookery, Depression, Donations, dresses, Fashion, Market Harborough, Newspapers, NHS, Social Media) (http://www.harboroughfm.co.uk/, http://www.harboroughmail.co.uk/, http://www.theoathill.co.uk/)
A HARBOROUGH Mail journalist who wore a different dress every day for a year is selling all the frocks a week on Saturday – to raise money for mental health causes.
Last year, Elinor O’Neill (26) embarked on her dress-wearing challenge and set up a daily blog about it in a bid to raise awareness of mental health issues.
She succeeded in the challenge and along the way attracted support for the project from people across the country, including Sarah Brown, wife of the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Now, Ms O’Neill is selling dresses donated to her project to raise money for the Mind charity and for the Stretton Ward of the Brandon Unit in Leicester.
The sale will take place on Saturday, May 7, from 4pm at the Oat Hill pub in Harborough where guests will be greeted with a sizzling barbecue.
Ms O’Neill, of Burnmill Road, said: “”It is going to be a really special occasion and the collection of dresses is just fantastic.
“There is Prada and Primark, vintage and brand new; designer and high street; and every dress sold will help towards removing the stigma of mental illness.”
She hopes to raise more than £1,000 and chose to support Mind because of her own experiences with mental health.
“I suffer from manic depression,” she said, ” and I know what it is to lose a loved one to the illness.
“One of the things that pains me about metal health problems is there is help available out there but often people are too anxious or even ashamed to ask for help.
“I picked Mind because they work hard to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.”
She is also supporting the Stretton Ward where she has been cared for in the past. Money from the sale will go towards providing a fund to be used for entertainment there.
She said: “My sister died of cancer when she was 17 but the ward where she was treated was always full of recreational activities used to distract the patients from their pain.
“It is a sad fact that mental health units suffer from a lack of donations, even of something as simple as books to read or films to watch.
“Me and a friend who also stayed in the unit would joke they deliberately had puzzles with missing pieces so you felt you couldn’t leave until the task was finished.”
During the challenge Ms O’Neill kept followers updated about her project via Facebook, Twitter and an online blog.
She posted photos of herself in each of the 365 dresses and accompanied each with a written post.
All of the dresses were either donations, clothes from her own collection or loans from friends, family and kind strangers from as far away as the USA.
At the big dress sale there will be guest speakers, music and stalls with cakes and other goodies to buy.
Event sponsors include Protheroes Motor Group, The Oat Hill, The Beauty Manor, HFM, It’s a Gas, Joules Clothing, Firenze, Wainwright’s hair salon and chef Paul Gamble.
For more details or to support the event phone Ms O’Neill on 07926 959076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her blog can be seen at http://www.lostinnotation.wordpress.com.
Further details available by purchasing The Harborough Mail which can be bought from all good newsagents in the Market Harborough district for the reasonable sum of 60p.