Generosity of strangers
A simple act of generosity has turned into a dream wedding for a deserving Ranui resident.
It all started when florist Shari Neva-Moffitt decided to gift a bouquet of roses and a buttonhole to a lucky bride and groom.
The Glendene 29-year-old belongs to the community Facebook group Pay it Forward West Auckland (PIF) where members gift things to others and expect nothing in return.
Other page subscribers followed her lead and it wasn't long before a full wedding package was on offer.
All that was needed was a lucky bride and groom.
Mrs Neva-Moffitt called for couples to jot a few lines and let her know why they deserved a free wedding with all the trimmings.
It was Angela Roberts' story that stood out most.
Miss Roberts' mother Suezanne was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer on October 2012 and died last June
Miss Roberts, 42, spent a lot of money and time being a fulltime carer for her mum through a traumatic period that included a miscarriage and the death of her brother-in-law Glen in an accident.
"Then a friend of ours who is on the PIF page told me about the wedding offer," she says.
She and partner Mike McLeod met through mutual friends six years ago.
They'd talked about marriage but knew they couldn't afford a wedding.
"He's my soulmate," Miss Roberts says.
"So I wrote to Shari and I just explained that this man has supported me with my mum dying and all the dramas.
"We got turned down for financial support from Work and Income and the Cancer Society and couldn't afford a wedding ourselves."
The story struck a chord with Mrs Neva-Moffitt.
"There was not a hint of ‘I want, I want'," she says.
"It was just so genuine and raw and it stood out to me because I'd gone through a similar loss last year when my grandfather passed away."
Miss Roberts and Mr McLeod were overwhelmed to hear they'd been selected to get the package.
"The generosity of everybody is amazing. I've never had to say thank you so much to so many people."
The big day is now set for March 29 at Western Springs' Circle of Friends memorial.
Miss Roberts' son Shaidyen, 11, will be the ring bearer and daughter Tiayana,6, will be a flower girl.
Around 100 people are invited including PIF members.
Miss Roberts will miss her mum most on the day but says she would have been thrilled with latest developments. She already knows she has her mother's approval.
"There was one day in hospital when one of the orderlies asked mum who Mike was," she says.
"She said ‘that's my son' and that just blew me away."