Bride pleads for wedding dress return after charity collectors take it

Woman pleads for the return of her wedding dress after accidentally donating it to charity while clearing out her step-father’s home – but collection company say it’s probably now ‘sold or recycled’

  • Sara Holman, 46, stored her wedding dress at her step-father’s home in Wales
  • Now living in Kent, Sara returned to collect the dress after he passed away 
  • She was horrified to discover that a local charity van had collected the gown 
  • Now, the mum-of-one is pleading for its return, saying it has huge sentimental value because her late mother bought her it ahead of her wedding in 2009
  • Crest, who collected dress and other belongings, say it’s been ‘sold or recycled’ 

A woman who has accidentally gifted her wedding dress to a charity collection van has made a heartfelt plea for its return – saying she’ll even offer a reward to get her gown back.

Music teacher Sara Holman, 46, who lives in Kent but grew up in Wales, says she was devastated to discover that the satin and lace dress, which she wore on her wedding day in 2009, had been picked up by a Welsh charity while she was clearing out her late step-father’s house in Llandudno where the dress was being stored. 

Conwy-based charity Crest have said they are ‘exhausting all options’ to find out where it is and get the sentimental dress back to Sara – but admit they fear it has been sold already at one of their shops.

Sara, now a mum-of-one, said the dress has huge emotional value because her mother, who died six years ago, paid for it when she got married in 2009.

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Mother-of-one Sara Holman, 46, had left her wedding dress in storage at her step-father’s home in Llandudno, Wales. She wore the dress at her 2009 nuptials and following the death of her step-father recently drove hundreds of miles from her home in Kent to retrieve it, only to realise it had been taken by charity collector Crest  

The local charity came to collect some of Sara’s step-father’s belongings but accidentally took her wedding dress, wedding shoes, a tiara and pieces of jewellery she wore on her big day. 

Originally from St Asaph, North Wales, Sara and her brother and sister began clearing out belongings from her late mum’s house three weeks ago after her step-father passed away in December.

She travelled hundreds of miles north to the house in Llandudno from her home in Kent to pick up her dress last week but realised quickly it was missing.

After calling her sister to find out where it was, they were horrified when they realised that the charity had accidentally taken the suitcase containing the dress away with other items that were due to be picked up.

The case also contained shoes, a tiara and pieces of jewellery she wore on her wedding day.

Sara explains: ‘My mum passed away six years ago and as my biological father died when I was six, she had always been desperate to buy my dress and had saved for ages for it.

‘It was stored in a large, black, hard-shell suitcase at her house, and after my stepfather passed away I wanted to collect it.

‘There was so much to sort out at the house and we asked Crest to come in and take some bits to the shop.

Sentimental value: Sara with her late mother and step-father (pictured right and far right) who agreed to keep the dress for her in Wales after she moved to Kent with her husband

‘There were other suitcases so I think they must have picked this one up thinking it was also meant for charity.

‘They’re not to blame at all, they were only doing what they were asked and it’s not their fault, it’s sadly just one of those things.’

The teacher has sent them CCTV footage of a Crest employee picking up the suitcase and removing it from the house and has been in touch with the charity, who have shops in Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay.

However, Sara says they told her the dress is likely to have been ‘sold or recycled’ by now.

She made the appeal on social media, writing: ‘Someone must have seen the dress when they opened the case to see what was inside.

‘It was very expensive but it’s not the money aspect that concerns me, it’s the sentimental value that it holds because my mum bought me it and she walked me down the aisle.

‘I would even offer a reward just to have it back. I know it’s not the biggest deal in the world and it’s important to just be thankful for what we do have in life but it would be amazing if it turned up.’

She has now shared her story in the hope that someone knows what happened to it. 

On her big day in 2009: The mother-of-one is hoping that the dress will be found but charity Crest says there’s a high chance it’s already been ‘sold or recycled’ via one of their two shops

Crest Co-operative said ‘We operate a bulky waste collection service on behalf of the local authority, and also collect approximately 14 tonnes of donated clothing from Conwy County residents every month.

‘Due to the sheer amount of content that comes through our doors, and the lack of storage space currently available, all donations and collections are processed daily.

‘Unfortunately we received notice of this wedding dress a few weeks after it went missing.

The charity spokesperson added: ‘We are exhausting all options to try and locate the item. We have spoken with the customer over the phone and also in person, and have offered our deepest sympathies to the customer and their family, and have offered them our continued full support to help retrieve this item.’ 

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