Leeds wedding dress mystery solved after YEP story

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He’s the kindly widower whose generous donation to a Leeds charity shop touched the hearts of fundraisers and Yorkshire Evening Post readers alike.

As reported in Wednesday’s YEP, an elderly customer recently gave his late wife’s wedding dress to the Sue Ryder store on Otley Road in Headingley.

He did not leave behind any details so when charity chiefs wanted to track him down to say a proper ‘thank you’, they issued an appeal through the pages of the YEP.

Now the resulting publicity has solved the mystery of the dress, with 86-year-old Gordon ‘Dick’ Dickinson being revealed as the anonymous benefactor. And the grandfather, from Far Headingley, admits he cannot believe how much attention his donation has attracted.

Dick, whose wife, Peggy, passed away aged 84 in 2011, told the YEP: “I’m a bit lost for words. I never thought it would cause so much fuss!”

Retired university lecturer Dick said that he decided to donate the dress to Sue Ryder’s Headingley store because it specialises in vintage and retro items. He also left the garment’s original bag as well as a picture from his wedding day in 1953.

“I thought the dress deserved to fetch more than a couple of pounds so it needed to go to a place where it would be appreciated,” he said.

Dick also revealed that the navy blue dress was not made from parachute silk, as first thought, but from a fabric called grosgrain. He said that Peggy had decided against buying a traditional wedding gown as she wanted a dress which she could get repeated use from in the austere post-war times of the 1950s.

A spokesman for Sue Ryder, whose care centres include Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley, said: “We were delighted to receive a phone call from the gentleman’s son, who had spotted his dad in the photo and recognised the dress. We’re really pleased to have found our mystery groom and we’re looking forward to finding out more about the story behind such an unusual wedding gown.”


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