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Stolen designer dress returned in time for charity gala


It’s the good news story, which has put a smile on many people’s faces.

This time last week a Newcastle-based charity was rocked after a designer dress – to be auction at a charity event – was stolen from a display mannequin in a local shopping centre.

The garment, designed and made by Heritage College Lake Macquarie teacher Michelle Villis, had been donated to Corethics for its upcoming gala and showcased at Charlestown Square.

However, an unknown thief or thieves removed the item of clothing, sparking a plea from the independent, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organisation for its return.

Corethics founder Melissa Williams collects the SFDC garment from GPT’s Claudia Mason at Charlestown Square.

Fast forward seven days… and it’s a different tale.

A young mother found the unique dress in a bush near Coles, Mayfield, on Thursday 29 February.

She then contacted GPT immediately after seeing it in the media.

“We’re just so delighted,” Corethics founder Melissa Williams said.

“I had a feeling we would recover the jacket.

“It is so unique and such a piece of art that it would be hard not to stand out.

“We’re really grateful for all the media that helped spread the word and, of course, the lovely woman who found the dress and returned it safely.”

The garment along with three other finalists’ creations will now go under the hammer at a black-tie event, Indigo, at Modus Brewery, Merewether, on 13 March from 5.30pm.

The inaugural charity gala is set to benefit water quality project waste4wealth [#W4W].

People can bid on the dress in a silent auction, with the proceeds helping to end chemical pollution in Indonesia.

Offers are open to the public via

For more information and to buy tickets to the gala to see the jacket in its glory, head to 

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