Two local charities raised over £10,000 (£10,314) when they joined forces to raise money to support the wellbeing of young people in Dorset on Saturday in Swanage.
Over 300 watched the innovative fashion show in aid of #Willdoes and RAC Saddle Club at the Swanage’s Mowlem Theatre with local people and supporters volunteering to model outfits from local retailers including Jurassic Outdoor, Coast & Country, Tilly Whims, Esme’s Closet and Big Dreams.
The crowd applauded as kids aged nine upwards modelled ski, snowboard and casual sports clothing, while some of the adults (which included local rugby first team players, event riders and coaches) rocked the stage wearing Miami Beach style outfits.
“I was a bit nervous about being on stage under the spotlight but was so much fun being made up and performing with my mates, many of whom were friends of Will, plus of course it felt great to raise so much money for two great causes,” said Olivia Mallows, a local rider.
Two local upcoming fashion students from Bournemouth Uni – Charlotte Gibbons and Petrus Admiral-Garbett also showcased punk clothing and show-stopping evening wear.
Entertainment included a special contemporary dance performance by the amazing Bournemouth-based professional Jazz Armani Gritt who also performed with RAC Saddle Club manager Steph Buchanan and choreographed a dance routine performed by some of the youngest kids who attend the Saddle Club in Bovington for riding lessons. Stage effects and lighting were worthy of the West End courtesy of Lloyd Smith, a local sound engineer.
After the show, spectators experienced the fabulous view of the bay in The Showbar Taproom and Bar, with music by DJ Angelo until midnight. There was also an auction and huge support from local celebrity Jonathan Ross who donated tickets to The Masked Singer.
Lesley Paddy, #Willdoes Founder, Chair, Trustee and mother to Will who died aged 14 said: “It was one of the best events we’ve run to date. It was ethos of #WillDoes to see young people on stage, feeling nervous and a little out of their comfort zones but then facing their fears, walking on stage in front of 300-plus people and loving every minute of it.”
RAC Saddle club is a registered charity that supports several charities including the Forces Children’s Trust, Riding for the Disabled, Help for Heroes (lessons for PTSD military personal), Changing Lives Through Horses, which support the needs of some of the local community members from all ages.
#Willdoes is a charity that helps young people achieve wellbeing in Dorset. They promote any charitable purpose (including the promotion of education, physical health, mental health and social inclusion) and contribute financially to charitable projects for the benefit of young people in Dorset and the surrounding areas.
Introducing young people to sports and other activities to help them connect and engage socially, rather than retreat to more insular gaming and social media pastimes and to develop coping mechanisms to help manage anxiety and emotions, increase self-awareness, developing trust and relationships.
Both #Willdoes and RAC Saddle club are prominent in the promotion and development of young people’s mental health.
Thank you to Annie Harrison for all the amazing photos!