Suffolk-based charity struts on the catwalk to deliver the World’s longest fashion show

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• Raising £24,000 for The Blossom Charity

The Blossom Charity expects to break the Guinness World Record for the longest fashion show, having held a 30-hour event. The charity, based in Eye, Suffolk, has added six hours to the previous record, which stood at 24 hours and was set in Miami, United States, in 2014. 

The marathon couture showcase took place at Grade I-listed Woolverstone Hall, near Ipswich, and started at 3pm on Friday 13 October and finished at 9pm on Saturday 14 October. It featured an extensive 1,080 outfits, with most outfits provided by dream on and 200 menswear outfits provided by Jarrolds, a local department store in Norfolk, that were paraded in front of crowds along a 58 metre-long catwalk. In total, the models walked an impressive total of 104 miles.

To add to the excitement, visitors had the chance to win a fantastic raffle prize of two tickets to an Ed Sheeran concert in Vienna, with flights and one night’s hotel accommodation.

The World Record attempt was organised to raise proceeds for the Blossom Charity through the sales of tickets and raffle tickets. The event has raised £24,000 for the charity, which will support the work it carries out in the East Anglia area to inspire confidence among women in the region through coaching, mentoring, makeovers and style consultancy. While raising money was important, the real aim of delivering the World’s longest  fashion show was to encourage people to achieve things that they never thought possible, whether this was having the courage to strut down a catwalk, or organising the logistics of a large-scale event. 

A few familiar East Anglian faces graced the catwalk in order to help break the World Record including, Russell Osman, a former player for Ipswich Town Football Club. A number of the region’s business leaders also modelled, including, Adnams’ CEO, Andy Wood, Nicky Dulieu from Notcutts, Minnie Moll, joint MD of the Co-op, Norwich entrepreneur Patrick Smith, formerly of Swinton and Norwich Union, Lynn Walters, Executive Director of Pure Resourcing Solutions and James Brown, Regional Managing Partner of Grant Thornton. 

The Blossom Charity runs alongside dream on, a Community Interest Company (CIC) that works with businesses to support growth and personal development. Founded by former UK CEO of Royal & Sun Alliance, Bridget McIntyre, both The Blossom Charity and dream on work with a range of people from young school leavers to corporate executives and retired women to help them achieve their goals.

Bridget McIntyre, founder of The Blossom Charity and dream on, commented: “We’re delighted to have delivered the World’s longest fashion show and once verified, we will hopefully have our name in the Guinness World Records book! There are so many people to thank for putting in the hard work to make this event a success and this includes the 66 models who gave up their time (and sleep!) to help us break this record and the team of 82, who provided support backstage.

“Every year we look to hold a fun and exciting fundraising event that enables our entire community to get involved and raise money and it’s fantastic to see the power of team work and what we can achieve together. This year’s fundraiser was certainly ambitious but will go down in history and certainly last a long time in our memories.”

Ziggy Martin’s experience as a client of the Blossom Charity exemplifies the work the charity carries out and the personal development plans it offers. Over three years ago, Ziggy was inspired to apply to a Blossom Charity development programme, after watching one of its fashion shows and she realised it could help her feel more confident and fulfilled. Because of her development programme, Ziggy has transformed into a woman who oozes confidence and has a true sense of self-belief. She wants to give back to the Blossom Charity at every opportunity and jumped at the chance to be a model for the World’s longest fashion show.

Ziggy Martin, one of The Blossom Charity’s success stories, said: “As I soon as I heard the Blossom Charity was hosting this event, I couldn’t wait to get involved and help give back to the wonderful charity which has helped me. After I completed my programme, I felt like a new woman and it inspired me to be the best version of myself – it has even helped me to find the confidence to start a new business!”

The charity is still accepting donations, which can be made online. Please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/events/longestfashionshow

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