Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Stylish students ‘SWOT’ for charity

Andrew Mahon, Ballyclare, receives fashion first aid from fellow medical students Erin Sturdy, Bangor, and Catherine Higgins, Lisburn Road, at the SWOT Fashion Show

Queen’s University was busting with style last Monday night, February 22, as fourth year medical students took to the stage to bring Belfast’s alternative fashion show to life.

In aid of the Students Working Overseas Trust (SWOT), the fashion show helped raise money for fourth year medical students to visit third world countries, taking medical supplies with them.

Hosted by former Radio One presenter Dr Mark Hamilton and local television presenter Emma-Louise Johnston, the show was a huge success.

Students modelled clothes donated by 19 different stores, including New Look, Lifestyle Sports, Rusty Zip, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons and even Drama Queens Fancy Dress.

And the students had been practising their dance routines from last October, starting the show with routines from High School Musical.

And the popular Youtube hit, featuring a wedding dance by the now famous Kevin and Jill, also made an appearance, as looks from Protocol and Parsons Hire were on show.

Last year the event raised £45,000, which students took directly to hospitals and medical centres in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana, Peru, and India.

But this year they had no sponsors, working extra hard to raise more money through blood pressure clinics and other charity events.

Despite all the fun, the show was a reminder that one in six people in Africa don't have access to basic medical care, while one in three don't have access to any form of sanitation.

And most of the diseases that cause death in children are often the easiest to cure.

SWOT Fashion show co-ordinator, Pippa Crutchley, said: “There have been months of hard work to get to the show together, but knowing the number of lives we are saving makes it all worthwhile.

“Some of last year’s medical students went to south-western Tanzania.

“The hospital bought an ECG machine, a portable X-ray machine, wheel chairs, crutches and orthopedic supports and a basic laboratory to facilitate easier and quicker diagnoses of conditions including Malaria.

“This year I hope to spend time in a neonatal unit, as babies often die during what we would consider a ‘normal’ or ‘safe’ birth.

“I know SWOT really makes a difference.”

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