Models to highlight campaign on catwalk

SHOW ... Sharon Eckert, Hedworth Hall's Gavin Yanetta and Asda's Tracey Tough.
SHOW ... Sharon Eckert, Hedworth Hall's Gavin Yanetta and Asda's Tracey Tough.

A GAZETTE-backed campaign to save lives is taking to the catwalk in a bid to raise awareness of organ donation.

Models will strut their stuff during two nights of fashion fun in memory of Miley Turbitt, who lost her 14-week fight for life before a heart donor could be found.

The event, at Hedworth Hall in Dean Road, South Shields, on November 6 and 7, will also raise funds for the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation (Chuf) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where medics tried valiantly to keep battling Miley alive.

Since her death last November, her mum Sharon Eckert has tirelessly raised awareness of organ donation.

She launched her campaign, In Miley’s Memory, to encourage people to sign up to the organ donor register.

More than 30 young models, aged from five to 18, will take part in the fashion show.

Among them will be siblings Caitlin and Ben Robertson, who will honour the memory of their dad, Gary.

The Hebburn father-of-three died on his 39th birthday after suffering a brain aneurism, but gave the gift of life to four others after his organs were donated.

Also taking part is Ellie Stephenson, nine, from Jarrow, who owes her life to the Freeman’s medics after being born with meconium and amniotic fluid in her lungs.

The In Miley’s Memory campaign was launched in February, backed by the Gazette.

Since it began, a further 1,476 people in South Tyneside have registered as organ donors, taking the borough total to 39,763.

Before the campaign, the average sign-up in South Tyneside was 156 people a month.

That has now risen to 267 people a month – an increase of 71 per cent.

Now, in a last big push before the end of the year, Ms Eckert hopes to increase the figures with the help of a fashion show.

The 39-year-old, from Westmorland Road, South Shields, said: “The fashion show was something which started off as a small thing to help raise money for Chuf, and as a different way of raising money for organ donation, but it has escalated into quite a big event.

“I would like to say thanks to Asda who helped to organise the show and everyone who has supported the campaign.

“The campaign has meant so much to me and the figures really speak for themselves – I cannot thank people enough.”

Models will showcase George at Asda’s forthcoming winter and party collections, as well as the store’s range of spectacles.

Clothing from online firm Urban Royalty Clothing will also be featured.

Boldon Asda’s community life champion Tracey Tough said: “The Miley campaign has touched people’s hearts, and it was something we were pleased to get on board with from the start.

“We are all looking forward to the show, and hope it helps to raise awareness of organ donation as well as cash for Chuf.”

Tickets for the fashion show are available now from the Hedworth Hall, priced £5.

A limited number of premier tickets, priced £10, are available from Ms Eckert on 07858 370036.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa