In 2015, Candace Vella Bencini came across a foreign Facebook post, regarding people donating their wedding dress to be made into gowns for the babies that left this world too early.
“Being a mum of four back then, I thought of how hard it would be as a parent to go through such an unfortunate experience and wondered if here in Malta we had such an organisation to provide such gowns and to offer as much of support to the grieving parents,” she told Newsbook.com.mt.
Candace contacted her friend Natasha Micallef, who is a midwife at Mater Dei and asked if we have something similar here on our island. Her reply was no.
“I felt so gutted, that I immediately took the decisions to start up an organisation to provide such a service to our local hospital which results in supporting parents too,” Candace said, “My main issue was that I didn’t know how to sew! I could barely sew a button on, let alone gowns. I didn’t even have a sewing machine.”
So, Candace spoke to her father who gave her a sewing machine and showed her how to set it up and start it up. A friend gifted her a holy communion dress and a lace gown, so she had something to work with.
Candace also set up a Facebook page called Dress an Angel – Malta where she asked for seamstresses to help her, as well as people to donate their wedding, bridesmaids or Holy Communion dresses.
From this humble start, Candace now has an army of seamstresses to help her, one of whom, Sabrina Debono, has just finished sewing over 60 dresses.
“I wouldn’t have coped all alone”, says Candace, “Thanks to them, their generous time and dedication that we have created such wonders. They are truly gifted, and all sew from their heart. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the generous ladies who donate their lovely dresses for us to work with. It’s a whole team effort.”
Candace says that she receives many private messages from parents with pictures of their baby in one of their gowns and a note of appreciation that they found comfort having these gowns at hand at such a difficult time for them.
“Our main aim is to provide support for families by helping them give their angels a decent send-off. Messages like these make me want to work harder and deliver the best for them,” Candace concludes.