Stars take to the catwalk as The Merchant raises £29k for Ukraine Appeal

Celebrities such as James Nesbitt, Michael Deane, Paddy Raff, Suzie Lee and more strut their stuff on the runway

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 1:00 pm

With a host of familiar faces strutting their stuff down the catwalk, The Merchant Hotel raised a whopping £29,000 for the DEC Ukraine Appeal as it saw the return of its popular Fabulous Fashion Teas as a one-off event.

With entire proceeds donated to DEC Ukraine Appeal, guests were entertained by a line-up of famous faces, sports stars and models showcasing the latest ladies and gents’ fashion, generously provided and styled by Blush Boutique and The Style Gallery.

From BT9’s best-known resident, Paddy Raff’s alter ego ‘Nigel’ to UTV legend, Julian Simmons, other famous faces included Bloodlands’ actors James Nesbitt and Chris Walley, chef Michael Deane, Q Radio’s Ibe Sesay, Radio 1 DJ Gemma Bradley, Antrim hurling star Neil McManus, TV chef Suzie Lee, model Nuala Meenehan, broadcaster Claire McCollum, Beannchor MD Bill Wolsey and former Miss NI’s, Gemma Garrett and Fiona Hurley.

James Nesbitt walking the catwalk at The Merchant's Fabulous Fashion Teas for Ukraine

Hosted by Petra Wolsey, Eximo’s Andi Jarvis and supported by Style Academy Model Agency’s director Tracey Rodgers, the Fashion Teas was a wonderful afternoon for all those who attended.

Guests enjoyed Moët et Chandon champagne and mouth-watering Ukrainian coloured blueberry and lemon macarons by head pastry chef Sarah Jade Jameson during an exciting auction and ballot, which saw bids as high as £9,000 and gave guests the chance to go home with some truly amazing, money can’t buy prizes that were kindly donated by a number of generous sponsors.

Petra Wolsey, group marketing director of The Beannchor Group, said: “Around three million people have had to flee their homes, leaving behind loved ones, jobs and belongings and now face an uncertain future because of the conflict in Ukraine.

“The Beannchor Group and our dedicated team at The Merchant felt a sense of responsibility to do everything we could to raise awareness and funds for this important appeal and we are delighted that this Fabulous Fashion Tea was a sell-out event, raising an impressive £29,000 for those in need.”

Stars at Fabulous Fashion Teas at The Merchant

Spoilt for choice, guests had the chance to get their hands on a luxurious overnight stay for two in the five star Merchant Hotel including dinner in Berts Jazz Bar and his and hers vouchers for glam outfits courtesy of Blush and The Style Gallery; also up for grabs was a five day holiday at the luxurious Mas Des Agasses in Provence, dinner for six in Michelin starred restaurant Eipic, a limited edition framed print from Carrie Neely’s Myrtle and Mary range - Belfast gal ‘Millie’ accompanying a professional studio photoshoot with Collette Creative and styled hair from Stephen McCusker and makeup from The Makeup Pro Store kindly donated to the auction.

Alongside the high-end auction, the event also included a ballot with prizes donated by Bullitt Hotel, Touched Wood, The Barista Bar and James Black Restorations.

Ensuring as much money could be raised as possible, Beannchor also donated an additional £1 to the DEC Ukraine Appeal for every Instagram story shared at the event.

Gemma Bradley and Paddy Raff as 'Nigel' at The Merchant's Fabulous Fashion Teas for Ukraine
Gemma Garrett walking the catwalk at The Merchant's Fabulous Fashion Teas for Ukraine
Nuala Meenehan walking the catwalk at The Merchant's Fabulous Fashion Teas for Ukraine
Fabulous Fashion Teas at The Merchant