Widowed mum’s Fashion Week makeover

Makeover model Natalie Welsh on the catwalk at Bristol Fashion Week AW2015.

A Bradley Stoke woman was treated to a luxury makeover and the chance to be a catwalk model for the day just weeks after losing her partner in tragic circumstances.

Natalie Welsh became a widow in August at the age of 35 after Brian, her partner of 14 years, had a heart attack and died in his sleep. Her sister Louise was just one of ten people who nominated her to be a ‘makeover model’ at Bristol Fashion Week, held at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway at the end of September.

Speaking after Natalie had been named as one of the five winners, Louise said: “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a makeover right now. It was a big shock but she has fantastic inner strength and is determined to create a happy life for her eight-year-old daughter, Niamh.”

Natalie said: “I couldn’t believe so many of my friends and family nominated me! It was a total surprise to find out I had won. This year has been the hardest of my life but I’m staying strong for my daughter. She was just as excited about this as I was, and it was lovely to have something to look forward to together.”

Natalie was treated to an exclusive shopping trip with Bristol Fashion Week host, TV stylist Mark Heyes, who helped her select a new look. She also received a complimentary hair makeover with Tomlinson of Clifton, the official hairdresser of Bristol Fashion Week, and a makeup masterclass with Bobbi Brown at John Lewis at The Mall.

For her big day, Natalie wore a “purpley jump suit”, chosen by Mark Heyes, which she said “isn’t the type of thing I would normally wear”.

She described the experience of walking down the catwalk in front of a large and appreciative crowd as “nerve racking but exciting at the same time.”

Natalie says she was moved by the huge amount of warmth shown to her and says she even had strangers coming up to her in The Mall after the show to offer support and good wishes.

Natalie’s story was picked up by the regional media and in the days following the fashion show she appeared on BBC Points West and was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol’s Breakfast Show, giving her the opportunity to praise the work of Winston’s Wish, the UK’s leading child bereavement charity, which has provided welcome support to the family.

Natalie, Niamh and Louise also organised an event dubbed ‘Niamh’s Night of Fundraising’ at the BAWA Club in Filton on 17th October, which raised £1,636 for Winston’s Wish.

Reflecting on the short time since her partner had died, Natalie told the BBC: “It’s been a roller coaster journey – quite surreal. Every day is different and brings its own challenges – but we get through one day at a time.”

“I’ve got such a strong network of family and friends – I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be rooting for me. Their love and support keeps me and Niamh going on a day-to-day basis.”

TV stylist Mark Heyes puts the finishing touches to Natalie Welsh's catwalk look for Bristol Fashion Week AW2015.

Photos; (1) Natalie on the catwalk at Bristol Fashion Week. (2) TV stylist Mark Heyes puts the finishing touches to Natalie’s catwalk look.

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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