‘We buried my daughter in her prom dress. Now we want to make sure no one else has to miss their prom’
It was one of the last things that proud mum Amanda King bought her daughter.
It was bright pink and ‘blingy’ – just what 18-year-old Cerys wanted for her school prom.
But tragically, the Rossington All Saints School pupil never got to wear the dress at the big dance.
She died two years ago this month, found dead at the flat where she lived in Wheatley.
Her family will never forget the girl whose laugh they fondly remember – and they have set up a fund to make sure others remember her too.
This month they are launching a scheme to loan out prom dresses and wedding dresses in Cerys memory, under the voluntary organisation they have set up in their memory, called Cerys King’s Wish.
The organisation was initially set up to provide furniture for homeless and vulnerable people. But when Amanda heard of a vulnerable teenage girl whose family could not afford a dress for her prom, she put out an appeal through her contacts.
She was inundated by around 70 dresses. At that point she decided to offer them out for loan, at the cost of a deposit. That led to wedding and bridesmaid dresses – and this month she is putting them on offer for hard-up famlies who need them for special occasions, whether that be proms or weddings.
The whole project is in memory of Cerys.
Amanda, from Wadworth, said: “Cerys was 18. She was a cheeky monkey at times, but she was always happy and always laughing.
“She loved hair and make-up – her eyebrows were her prized posession. She would not be seen without her eyebrows done. If ever there was someone who was down in the dumps, she was always the first one there to help them.
“She would do anything for anyone. She was popular, had lots of friends, and was effective one of the prefects at school.
“She had passed all her GCSEs and she wanted to work in hair and beauty, or nails. I remember how once she put a picture of me on facebook with scouring pads she had put in my hair to see if they worked as curlers – they worked!
“I think she would have been the first to get involved in helping with this project.
“She had been looking forward to her prom, and she screamed with delight when I showed her the dress.
“My work with Cerys King’s Wish keeps me busy, and gives me something to focus on.”
Cerys was laid into her coffin wearing her prom dress. Her sister Sarah Collett did her eyebrows for her.
“”When we did her hair and make up for the funeral, we wanted her to look like we were doing it for a night out.
“The church was packed at St John’s Church for the funeral. “
Amanda, who is cared for a disabled son, Christopher, wants to make the dress loan scheme as big as she possibly can. She said she hoped it would spread all across Doncaster and beyond.
“We want to be a voluntary organisation that supports the local community and different charities,” she said.
She added the Spartan Fight Club, based in Blaxton, is planning a fundraiser for the organisation, where its boxers would wear dresses and wigs and raise money in collection buckets.
Cerys’ whole family is involved in Cerys King’s Wish. Sister Sarah, her brother Benjaim King, and uncle Michael Durant all volunteer with the project, which operates from a warehouse on a Doncaster industrial estate.
It has been providing furniture for organisations including the Changing Lives project, which helps Doncaster’s homeless, and for people who are referred to them by local churches.
The idea came about because the family had done work to restore furniture and furnish Cerys’ flat when she first moved into it.
They have since fully furnished dozens of homes, and partially furnished others with items ranging from settees to cookers.
They also have a just giving page.
To contact Cerys King’s Wish, contact Amanda on 07397 555886 or Sarah on 07598 159404.
> An inquest into Cerys’ death has been opened and adjourned but has yet to conclude.
Police initially suspected that she had killed herself but the coroner has still to reach a verdict.