A Venetian masked ball is the perfect excuse for a glam new outfit. But Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston is urging its supporters to remember that style doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.

Organisers of the hospice’s fundraising Masquerade Ball on September 21 are encouraging ticket-holders to do style on a shoestring – and head to its charity shop on Wellgate in Rotherham. 

The hospice is rewarding such thriftiness. Any guest who buys part of their outfit from the shop will receive a free drink at the ball as a thank you from the charity.

The first floor ‘bridal and evening boutique’ at the shop boasts a dazzling display of cocktail dresses, ballgowns and glittering accessories…and there’s even a number of Venetian-style masks to snap up.

For men, there’s a selection of black-tie dinner suits, bow-ties and shirts. 

“Regular customers already know that the first floor of our shop is a real treasure-trove of beautiful things and make a bee-line for us whenever they have a ball to go to,” said shop manager June Salthouse.

“I have nearly 100 evening dresses to choose from. Many are brand new and still have their labels on, and others have been worn just one or two times and are in perfect condition.

“We have scores of beautiful accessories too. It’s possible to put together an entire outfit – from your masquerade mask right down to your sparkly shoes – for £20. And into the bargain, that qualifies you for a free drink at the ball!”

“On the night of the ball there will be a prize for The Most Marvelous Masked Guest – how brilliant it would be if the winner was dressed to impress in our charity shop best,” said the hospice’s event organiser Beth Cole.

To prove it’s impossible to tell a pre-loved evening outfit from brand new, Whiston student Elizabeth Stevenson, who is currently volunteering in the hospice’s communications team, visited the shop to unmask the bargains.

She pulled together three stunning outfits from the rails, teaming a stunning, full-skirted gold tulle ball gown, priced £25, with a glittering mask and accessories costing less than £12.50. 

A pale green taffeta strapless gown for just £20 was pulled together with a mask, clutch bag and necklace totalling £6.98. And her best bargain outfit – a slender black and silver dress  with matching bag and mask - came to just £15.98. At that price, even Cinders can afford to go to the ball.

Bluebell Wood’s Masquerade Ball is being held at Sheffield City Hall Ballroom on September 21. Tickets are £65 and include a three-course dinner. For those who bag a bargain outfit from Bluebell Wood for the evening, simply bring your shop receipt to the ball to claim your free drink. Call 01909 515365 or email [email protected] to book.