Timaru woman takes on 97 ball gowns in attempt to boost girls' confidence

Timaru Girls High School student Hannah Hurst, 16, says there is definitely a need for a ball gown service in Timaru.
DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Timaru Girls High School student Hannah Hurst, 16, says there is definitely a need for a ball gown service in Timaru.

A whole room in a Timaru woman's house is overflowing with ball gowns, but it's all for a good cause.

Last Thursday Annette Powell inherited 97 ball gowns to loan to people in need of a fancy dress for a formal occasion.

Powell took over the dresses from Andrea Hurst, who had started collecting them in January.

Hannah Hurst has a look at some of the 97 dresses Powell has inherited so far.
DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Hannah Hurst has a look at some of the 97 dresses Powell has inherited so far.

"As you can see, it takes up a lot of room. So I thought 'I'll take it on'," Powell said.

Ball season was over for the year for South Canterbury schools, and while the service was more aimed at schoolgirls, Powell said the dresses could be loaned free of charge for any formal occasion.

Powell wanted to assist girls in going to their school balls with as little cost as possible, as there were "girls who are not going to the ball because of financial implications".

She was partly motivated by the idea of reusing the dresses - which would otherwise go to waste - and also by the opportunity to do something positive for the community.

"So we start by getting girls confident and going to balls, and I guess happy people don't do stupid things."

She hoped to help girls feel good about themselves, and if it could be done with something as simple as loaning them a dress, she was keen. 

Powell could be contacted through her Having a Ball Timaru Facebook page. 

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A woman ran a similar service in Auckland called The Cinderella Project and was sending Powell a few smaller size dresses.

Powell said she would happily accept dresses from people, and was looking for larger size dresses in particular.

"The more dresses I've got, the more likely I'm going to be able to help someone."

Hurst said the service was very busy during the year.

"There's been quite a few lent out this ball season, prizegivings and things like that," she said.

Timaru Girls' High School student Hannah Hurst, 16, said there was definitely a need for the service.

"Especially when you've got multiple balls coming up."

 - Stuff

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