Soon-to-be married couple ask wedding guests to make donation to the homeless rather than buy gifts

Gordon and Martine are asking friends and family to donate money to pay for sleeping bags for the ho

Gordon and Martine are asking friends and family to donate money to pay for sleeping bags for the homeless. - Credit: Archant

A selfless bride has banished presents from her wedding day and is instead asking guests to contribute towards sleeping bags for the homeless.

Martine Xerri, of Leaden Roding, will be marrying her partner of five years, Gordon Leather, next month at Leez Priory, in Great Leighs.

But the couple have politely asked their family and friends not to buy them any presents for the big day and instead donate money to a good cause.

Martine told the Broadcast: “In short I looked at my life and it’s blissful. I have four amazing children who are all healthy and my husband-to-be is one of the kindest most caring men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

“So I have everything anyone could ever want. I do not need lots of gifts to make my future life better than it already is.”

The money donated will be spent on buying sleeping bags for homeless people. The idea came after Martine was nearly forced to sleep on the streets herself after the break down of a previous marriage.

She added: “When I split up from my ex-husband I found myself facing homelessness and due to having to relocate I lost my job. I spent every day terrified of what was going to happen to me and my children. I was lucky enough to have people in my life who supported me and helped me get back on my feet.

Most Read

“Getting married made me realise how lucky I was, the only difference between me and the homeless person on the street was the support and help I got.

“I cannot change anyone’s life by buying a sleeping bag but I can let them know someone cares about them, that they are not invisible.”

The couple’s charitable idea has been well supported and a quiz night was held in Leaden Roding on Friday at the village hall to raise funds. Enough money was collected to pay for four sleeping bags.

The Co-operative Food in Great Dunmow has also agreed to be a collection point for anybody wanting to donate any items, including socks, jogging bottoms and three season sleeping bags, to the cause.

All items handed over will be distributed by Martine and her friends in London.

Team leader of the White Street store, Leanne Berjer, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in this project and we hope it is a great success because it is for such a great cause.”

Donations can be dropped off at The Co-op from Tuesday, February 24.