A vicar has sparked a trend for jewel-encrusted dog collars after wearing the accessory to honor a girl who died from severe health issues.
Rev. Hannah Cooper was presented with the hand-made pink diamante garment by Helen Sadler in remembrance of her “sparkly” daughter, Erin Sadler, nine.
The “fearless” little girl who had a “wicked sense of humor” sadly succumbed to a lifelong battle with blood, kidney, liver and heart disease in December last year.
And at her “celebration of life” event at St John’s church, Colchester, Essex, Helen asked Rev Hannah to wear the amazing collar, which matched Erin’s personality.
But the pastor was so touched by the personalized gift that she asked her bishop for special permission to wear it on regular occasions.
Now, Hannah says other recently ordained vicars have begun sporting the £7.50 accessory – which Helen is selling to raise money for charity.
Hannah said about the dog collars: “I can’t keep it to myself, these sparkles need it be shared.
“I’ve been stopped so many times – usually at least once a day when wearing my sparkly collar to comment on how lovely it is and how different, which has enabled me to continue to share a little of who Erin was and what an inspiration she was.
“She was a most amazing young lady, who was not afraid of anything and had the most wicked sense of humor.”
Helen said Erin had sadly spent most of her life in hospital battling several life-limiting conditions.
She’d previously needed to take 22 different medications a day, but despite her health woes, Helen said her “witty, wild” daughter wasn’t defined by her sickness.
She said: “Erin’s zest for life was an all-consuming phenomena.
“Diagnosed as a baby with multiple life-threatening conditions, she did not allow her complex health to define who she was
“She was the most glorious, witty, wild, enchanting, tenacious, grab life and live it person you would ever wish to meet, [defying] the odds time and time again, to rise like a Phoenix.
“Erin’s humor was outstanding, an unforgettable laugh, and she had sass for days, a smile that no one could resist or ever say no to.”
Heartbroken Helen said she didn’t know how to support her daughter’s legacy when she died on December 13, 2022.
But after a visit from Rev Hannah, she decided to create a pink diamante dog collar for her to wear at the ‘celebration of life’ ceremony, held in January this year.
She went on to make more of the garments, which she has been selling to raise money for the charity Rainbow Trust, supporting the parents of kids with life-limiting illnesses.
Helen said: “Hannah officiated Erin’s celebration of life and during [that] wore a pink diamanté collar, representing Erin’s sparkle.
“To thank Hannah, I made her a few more diamanté collars. Anyone who knows Erin and I knows that glitter, sparkle and diamanté was fundamental to our lifestyle.
“Hannah told me that her collars have been appreciated by many on-lookers and [have] been instrumental in starting conversations with members of the community.
“This conversation with Hannah resulted in Erin’s new initiative, which is very niche, but has proven already very popular with its intended audience.”
Helen has now sold 143 of the dog collars to both members of the clergy and people up and down the country.
And she’s so far raised over £600 to support the Rainbow Trust.
She added: “It is so precious to me that Erin’s name is said, that her sparkle continues.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.