A CHESTER high school has come up with an innovative way to help students get ready for their end of year prom.

Maria Nordmann, Deputy Headteacher of the Catholic High School, and her colleagues have set up a 'Vintage Occasionwear Evening' at the Handbridge-based high school recently, after receiving hundreds of pounds worth of prom dresses and suits in donations from the local community, parents and a local charity store.

Students were given a chance to browse the rails and try items on, and match their chosen outfit with shoes, bags and accessories that were set out on display at the unique event in the school hall.

Chester and District Standard: It's hoped the donations will help students to put their best foot forward.It's hoped the donations will help students to put their best foot forward. (Image: Catholic High School)

Mrs Nordmann said she had been overwhelmed by the positive response from students:

"The students really had a great evening - they were all giving each other help and advice and it really was so fantastic to see them find ‘the dress’ - and there were definitely a few tears!

"Going to prom can cost upward of £400 for a pupil - when you consider the outfit, accessories, hair, make-up, transport - the list is endless! For many families, we know this is an expense they could really do without; so our opportunity to recycle peoples beloved dresses and suits and make use of them for prom 2023 is a perfect way to take care of people's pockets and the planet as well!"

Chester and District Standard: Many of the donations were like new.Many of the donations were like new. (Image: Catholic High School)

The school thanked Ray Mayers from Barnardo’s in Saltney, who donated a large delivery of occasionwear to the school following a shop closure. Many of the dresses and suits that were donated by parents and the local community were brand new and still had tags on them, and several had only been worn on just one occasion.

In the run up to prom, Chaplin Ana Gasparini, is also offering a free alteration service for students to shape their outfits, and teachers from across the school who have additional skills in hair, nails and make-up will be offering their services free on the event day to ensure no one from the school misses out on the all important finishing touches.

Mrs Nordmann added: "We really want to break the stigma of wearing clothes second hand - this is so beneficial to the environment and it really helps with our inclusion policy - everyone will go to the prom looking fabulous! We’ll make sure of that."

Catholic High School Chester still has several dresses and suits which it plans to recycle for the current Year 10’s for their prom in 2024. If you have any donations or would like to support the school by donating, please contact: welcometo@christofidelis.org.uk.