Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News

Parents to throw bash for school leavers


AGROUP of parents left dismayed at seeing their children’s school prom cancelled in Widnes because of the pandemic have stepped in and organised a replacemen­t event to remember.

Donna Pybus, 54, rallied mums and dads to work out how to give the class of 2021 at Sts Peter and Paul Catholic High School a send-off to remember when a combinatio­n of bad luck around shifting pandemic restrictio­ns and term times meant the secondary pulled the plug on its planned July send-off.

She said: “Everyone was devastated”.

The breakthrou­gh came when ‘out of the blue’, Donna – whose two twins Chloe and Keiron were among those left facing a downbeat end to their time at Sts Peter and Paul – offered the chance to use the Hillcrest Hotel for free.

Around 150 pupils are now looking forward to a sit-down two-course meal and a DJ.

Sts Peter and Paul has provided some informal support to contact families and make them aware of the alternativ­e event.

Shayna Douglas understand­s that local authority pandemic rules meant that any proposed bash at Halton Stadium in Widnes would have been limited to 30 places and sitting down with no dancing and no DJ.

Talks over a potential September prom date fizzled out amid concerns over students not being able to attend.

Sts Peter and Paul broke the news in an email after the end of lockdown was postponed from June to July 19.

Donna said: “Obviously they needed to have meetings and then they just emailed saying unfortunat­ely they’ve had discussion­s – it was supposed to be held at the stadium and they said with all the restrictio­ns they weren’t going to go ahead with it.

“Everyone was devastated – all the mums, all the kids.”

Asked whether parents had already forked out cash for suitable attire, she said: “I’ve got two, I’ve got twins.

“I’ve had to buy a prom dress and a suit.

“There are a couple of other pairs of twins and lots of parents were devastated, and there were loads of other things going on – there were schools in Runcorn having proms.”

Due to data protection rules, Sts Peter and Paul couldn’t share parents’ contact details and instead helped to spread the message on Donna’s behalf.

Donna also posted on Facebook about the idea and soon found herself gathering support from parents eager to support the alternativ­e event.

She said: “I’ve had a few parents saying ‘yes’ – they were devastated their kids didn’t get the prom, the kids were devastated and we went from there.”

A Sts Peter and Paul spokespers­on said: “In regards to the Year 11 prom, we could only do as we were advised by public health Halton.

“We were told that we were unable to hold the Prom for more than 30 people due to the stage 4 Covid restrictio­ns that were initially due to be lifted on the Monday before our planned event, being delayed until late July, after we had finished for the summer.

“We considered rearrangin­g the event for September, but public health again advised that they could not guarantee that schools wouldn’t continue to be subject to similar restrictio­ns and we didn’t want to let our students down again.

“We are unable to comment on what other schools in other boroughs have been allowed to do.

“We have been just as disappoint­ed as the Year 11 parents and students about not having been able to celebrate the end of their journey.

“The students are a fantastic group of young people who have worked extremely hard during their time at P&P and have met the challenges of the last 18 months with resilience, maturity and community spirit.

“We are very happy that a parent has been able to organise a celebrator­y event for them and we have been supporting the organisers of this event wherever possible to ensure that it is successful.

“We hope that they have a great time.”

 ??  ?? l The Hillcrest Hotel on Cronton Lane, Widnes
l The Hillcrest Hotel on Cronton Lane, Widnes

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