CORONATION Street couple Sally Carman and Joe Duttine made the opening of a new bridal shop in Bury one to remember.
Hundreds of customers visited the Brides of Bury boutique for its launch celebration today, where they met with celebrity guests and got a taste of the new outfits and accessories available.
The bridal shop is a new venture for Bury Hospice and will support its work providing vital care for people living with life-threatening or terminal illness.
Sally Carman, who plays Abi Franklin on ITV’s Coronation Street but is best known for her role as Kelly Maguire on Shameless, cut the ribbon to officially open the shop.
Last November, Sally supported the hospice’s sell-out fundraising event Strictly Best Foot Forward as one of the judges.
She said: “After hearing the testimonies of people who have accessed the charity, you just realise the impact it is having and how needed it is.
“At the end of the day, people are losing their loved ones. If you can support a local charity that will help to ease pain or give support to people who might need it, that is a really worthwhile thing to do. Anything we can do to help, we will.
“We would urge you to support them wherever you can — you never know, you might need them yourselves one day — and they really do need this financial support, so if you can give of your time or money, please do.”
She added: “This shop is amazing and about 75 per cent of what is inside is actually brand new so please visit, have a look and spend some money.”
Joe Duttine, who plays Tim Metcalfe on Coronation Street and who is dating Sally in real life, said: “It is a really honourable thing to do to come and support a charity that helps people in their hour of need. It is great to see it be successful.”
He added: “Tim doesn’t know much about dresses.”
The couple had scheduled to have a ballroom dancing lesson this afternoon — a Valentine’s gift from Sally to Joe.
To coincide with the opening, Victoria Horrocks, from Brandlesholme, donated her wedding dress back to the hospice after first purchasing it at their Radcliffe shop.
Shirley Harrop, who was the first to purchase a wedding dress at the new boutique, gave high praise to the staff for their customer service.
“I visited the shop the first day it opened”, she said. “The whole experience was fantastic. The staff were amazing. They found me a veil, then helped me find my shoes. They really know their stuff.”
Shirley, aged 51 from Radcliffe, is due to get married for the first time on March 9.
The bridal boutique features three dressing rooms, a large shop floor and an upstairs stockroom, currently housing some 250 dresses.
New and pre-loved wedding dresses, bridesmaid, prom and evening gowns are all being sold, retailing between £75 and £799.
Sam Duncan, Head of Retail and Trading at Bury Hospice, said: “I’m immensely proud of this project. I’m confident that our new bridal boutique will generate vital income for Bury Hospice.
“We have sold four wedding dresses, several bridesmaid dresses and many mother-of-the-bride outfits since opening two weeks ago, which has exceeded our expectations.
“This would not have been possible without the support of our commercial sponsors, local businesses and wonderful volunteers.”
Brides of Bury is one of eight hospice-run shops generating incoming to provide care for people with terminal or life-limiting illnesses.
The running of the shop will be supported by seven volunteers and two part-time paid members of staff.
Boutique manager Sandra Beverley has more than 30 years of experience in the bridal retail sector, which includes working at Pronuptia de Paris for 29 years.
She said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic day.
“Choosing a wedding dress is the biggest decision a woman will make for her special day.
“We want people to experience that in a calm atmosphere with professional people who know shapes, styles and fabrics.
“The amazing generosity of people who care about this hospice has given us an amazing start.”
The shop is stocking ex-display Phase Eight outfits that have been donated and dozens of pre-loved dresses.
There are more than 1,000 hats and fascinators lining the shelves.
Linzi Jay, a supplier and manufacturer of bridal accessories, has also donated tiaras, veils and headdresses.
Visit the store at 20 Union Arcade, in the Mill Gate Shopping Centre.