Cramlington ‘fairy godmother’ helping girls to to the prom

Nicola Tunstill from 'Prom in the Community' (right) at the Prom Box with TV presenter Rachel Sweeney. Picture by Tony Hall Photography.
Nicola Tunstill from 'Prom in the Community' (right) at the Prom Box with TV presenter Rachel Sweeney. Picture by Tony Hall Photography.

A ‘fairy godmother’ from Cramlington is aiming to help all girls go to the ball.

Nicola Tunstill has set up Prom in the Community to hire out dream designer prom dresses for free to young girls.

The 31-year-old mum-of -five was inspired after she realised families were feeling under pressure to pay more and more on the end-of-school celebration, leaving some to feel they have missed out if they were unable to spend as much.

Now she is being backed by intu Eldon Square in Newcastle, which is setting up a donation box and taking in postal donations, while Sainsbury’s in Cramlington has also set up a drop-off point.

Nicola said: “I set up this project after a close friend struggled to send her daughter to the prom last year, having to get the dress, make-up, hair, a car – the bigger these proms get the more expensive they become.

“It was just so unfair that some girls were missing out on the chance to go to the prom simply due to the financial burden that buying a prom dress puts on the family.

“I’ve heard stories of people who’ve missed their proms because they felt the expectation to have a dress they just couldn’t afford – I just want more people to know that there is something which can help.

“I’m so grateful to intu Eldon Square for offering their support, they are going to place a prom donation box at the shopping centre, and also take postal donations, as well as promoting my campaign on social media so that will be a huge support.”

The bespoke prom box, which is now in position outside Debenhams on St Andrew’s Way, was launched by ITV Tyne Tees Good Morning Britain presenter Rachel Sweeney, who donated two special outfits.

Rachel said: “One of the dresses I’m donating I wore to get married at a registry office before flying off on honeymoon to Thailand and doing it all again on a beach with a completely different frock!”

“The other is a fantastic red dress that still has the tags on – it’s never been worn! I think they’d both be perfect prom dresses!

“I am more than happy to donate dresses to this cause. Every girl should be able to go to prom feeling confident. There’s so much anxiety surrounding these events for young girls, they’re under so much pressure, especially with social media - so this is a great way of helping them.”

intu Eldon Square community manager Clare Cannon, added: “When we heard about Nicola’s story and campaign, we just had to offer assistance as this is such an amazing way to make a huge difference to young people at a crucial point in their lives.

“Our sister shopping centre at London’s intu Lakeside promoted a hugely successful prom dress campaign last year.

“The box will be on site until Monday, May 7, and afterwards we’ll be holding a ‘prom dress event’ where the dresses will be loaned for free.

“In addition, make-up and hair artists will donate their time to give out tips on looking glam for the prom, and our retailers will be on hand with lots of ideas for prom accessories including classic chokers, shoulder sweeping statement earrings, cute clutches and stylish heels.”

For more information search for Prom in a Community on Facebook.