Fashioning a fundraiser

Coral Crouch and Francesca Dignum
Coral Crouch and Francesca Dignum
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Two weeks of dedicated fundraising at a girls’ school culminated in glamorous catwalks showcasing High Street designs as well as their own clothes.

Sixth formers at Portsmouth High School entertained audiences with two evenings of eye-catching outfits – and raised £3,200 for Hannah’s Holiday Home, a local charity that offers respite for families of poorly children.

Spectators were treated to a range of styles from High Street brands as well as students modelling some of their own creations for a special Art Walk – like the ‘toy box’ range of a puppet, Russian dolls, a toy soldier and Barbie.

Amy Knott, 17, who designed some of the original pieces, says: ‘Making the dresses was not only challenging but involved a lot of hard work and commitment from everyone.

‘Seeing our dresses on the catwalk was almost surreal, and the fact that they were being worn was something in itself – not to mention the bravery of those who wore the delicate outfits!’

And just to make sure every section of the audience was catered for, the girls roped in some of their male friends from schools across the region to strut the latest in men’s fashion.

One of these was South Downs College student Adam Westbrook, 16, from Waterlooville. His sister Hannah, who died aged 10 from Hodgkin’s disease, was the inspiration for the charity.

The fashion show was one of numerous charitable events organised by the girls, including a Harry Potter quiz, a fancy dress parade, a talent show and a netball match against the boys from St John’s College in Southsea.

Junior schoolchildren also rose to the challenge of a spelling competition, sporting events and a Take Your Teddy To School Day.

Head girl Claire Mackay, 17, who led a team that organised the events, says: ‘The two weeks of fundraising were a huge success and we enjoyed every minute of it, even though it was stressful at times!

‘We wanted to raise as much money as possible for Hannah’s Holiday Home – it is a truly worthwhile cause. Hannah would have been our age’