Millie gets dressed up

PUBLISHED: 07:41 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 21:16 29 May 2010

Tina Smith and Mel Barry raise money for charity - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tina Smith and Mel Barry raise money for charity - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

SIXTY years after going down the aisle, a great-grandmother from Takeley put her wedding dress back on to raise money for charity. Millie Purchas, 80, of West View, read in Take a Break magazine that readers were being encouraged to don their wedding dres

SIXTY years after going down the aisle, a great-grandmother from Takeley put her wedding dress back on to raise money for charity.

Millie Purchas, 80, of West View, read in Take a Break magazine that readers were being encouraged to don their wedding dresses and collect money for Barnardo's.

She said: "I read the article and thought that I could get involved. I'm quite active for my age and like a laugh, a bit of a giggle, so I just thought 'why not?'

"I spoke to my friends, family and neighbours and got lots of support, so decided to give it a go."

Mrs Purchas first wore her dress when she married her late husband Len, in St Andrew's Church in Walthamstow, on June 8 1946. Digging it out of the cupboard again certainly paid off, as she raised around £300 from generous donators when she did her collection on Friday.

Mrs Purchas said: "I went down to the dinner club at Takeley Community Centre, in my wedding dress and with a couple of flowers in my hair and they gave me a bucket for cash and gave me some sponsorship money.

"I also went down to Takeley Park, where everyone was very generous, and to an office building near to my house.

"I don't think there was a soul in the whole building who didn't give me something. I'm very grateful as it was for a good cause."

Also donning their dresses - though this time hired wedding dresses - were sales assistants Tina Smith and Mel Barry, who work at Stansted Airport's landside Boots store.

Mrs Smith, who has worked at the pharmacy for one and a half years, was previously a barmaid and cook at Dunmow Inn, in Great Dunmow for 18 years and has lost almost five stone in weight since she wore her original wedding dress six years ago.

She said: "I had to hire a dress this time round as I'd lost so much weight since my wedding! I found out I had an allergy to wheat and since cutting it out of my diet the weight just dropped off."

Their store manager, Catherine Whent, who organised all the charity events, was also locked in a cage at the store for the duration of the day - with a charity donations bucket.

All the proceeds will be going directly to the children's burns unit, based at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

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