Parents rescue end of term school prom

Soham Village College's annual prom show, which students will now get this year, after a group of parents organised it.

Soham Village College's annual prom show, which students will now get this year, after a group of parents organised the whole event. - Credit: Archant

Year 11 students at Soham Village College have been granted their end of school wish after a group of parents arranged their leavers prom within the space of two weeks. 

Like many other sixteen-year-olds, those at Soham were no different, and earlier this year were told that their end of school leavers prom was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Fast forward 14 days, and, with thanks to a zoom meeting and ten determined parents, the schools’ prom is now back up and running. 

Louise Cross’ daughter Chelsea finished her time at the village college last month (June), and Louise believes that as students were promised by the school that something would be arranged, so it should be. 

“For many, a school prom is something that children look forward to throughout their five years in secondary education, and in the case of a lot of girls, plan for several months. 

“They’d [students] been fundraising at school for the event, with non-uniform days, always being told something would happen but to refrain from any large prom purchases, but then all of a sudden it just got cancelled and it was heart-breaking for them. 

“Unfortunately, due to the extended Covid restrictions imposed by the government, the prom that was arranged by the school for 16th July [this year] was cancelled. 

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“Due to the timing of the proposed new date for easing restrictions, the school were unable to offer any alternative arrangements for an end of year celebration.  

“Chelsea had already bought her dress, knowing she may never wear it, but she’d had the pick of the bunch if she did,” said Louise. 

With the help of other parents and the community, Louise has arranged an entire prom scheduled for the end of this month (July 23). 

“Along with over £800 from a JustGiving page I set up, we have also had a very sizeable donation from Mr Colin Murfitt, a local businessman who wanted to make sure that every child who wished to go to the prom, could. 

"Without him we may not have been able to arrange as much as we have, and charge the minimal fee of £10 per child. 

“The students’ tickets will include a hot meal, fairground doughnuts, free soft drinks bars, a photographer, a disco, photo booths and a red carpet.”  

“We’ve been really lucky as one of the students' parents’ is being the photographer for free and we’ve got three security men for the price of just one,” says Louise. 

The prom will be held at Soham Town Rangers Football club, who have kindly waived their fee for the sixteen-year-olds. 

Chelsea said: "The prom means a lot to me, I'm so excited to get dressed up and wear the dress I fell in love with."

Parents have to be present at the event due to no teachers being allowed, but Louise knows that the students would much rather have them [the parents] there in the background than with no prom at all. 

Ms Cross said: “The school was categorical it [the prom] was not happening in school time and they could not be involved in any part of it. 

“Us parents have donated enough money for us to use, but it wasn’t our intention to make it [the prom] bigger or better, we just wanted to make it good with the funds we had. 

“We’ve told the students they can come in prom dresses, to just jeans and a shirt. 

“We don’t care what they come in, we just want them to have a good time, let some steam off, and enjoy themselves.” 

The parents now have around £2,500 left to play with after the donations and ticket prices.

“£10 a ticket is phenomenal, but like I said, without the donations from Colin Murfitt and the JustGiving page, we just wouldn’t have been able to do it,” said Louise. 

To visit the JustGiving page, or to donate, view it here.