Pupils devastated as Covid staff cases force Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel to cancel their prom

An angry mum has blasted hotel chiefs after her daughter's prom was postponed with just 48 hours notice.

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Pupils from Boroughmuir High School have been left devastated over the last minute call-off.

More than 150 pupils were due to attend the bash at the Balmoral Hotel on Friday, August 27, but were left reeling after receiving formal notification the event had been cancelled by the 5-star city institution on Wednesday, August 25.

Catherine Thorn, 51, who is leading the search for a new venue, said it was "wicked to cancel at the last minute".

Director of sales and marketing at the Balmoral, Stephen Walker confirmed that the event will not go ahead due to staff shortages caused by positive Covid-19 cases and self-isolation requirements.

“As with many hospitality businesses we are experiencing some staff shortages due to a combination of positive tests and the impact of self-isolation following Government guidance,” he said.

“This has forced the unfortunate decision to postpone a scheduled event taking place in the hotel on Friday to a later date when our guests can experience the very best quality of service and hospitality. We are working with the event organisers to arrange a new date.”

New date set for November

Mrs Thorn said she thinks the prom would not have been cancelled if it was an event for “rich powerful people” instead of school children.

The Balmoral has offered to host the prom in mid-November but parents are desperately seeking a new venue to ensure the event can go ahead as planned tomorrow evening.

“The pupils will be all over the country by November,” said frustrated mother Catherine Thorn, 51, who is leading the search for a new venue.

“It is wicked to cancel at the last minute and the alternative date that has been offered is in no way compensation, as many of the young people will be unable to attend.

“I am outraged that the hotel has cancelled this event with such late notice. Outfits have been bought, many have spent hundreds of pounds on kilts and dresses, and the young people have been getting so excited after a very difficult period.

Mrs Thorn went on to say that she believes the prom would not have been cancelled if it was an event for “rich powerful people”.

She said: “If it was an event for rich powerful people they would be keeping it going. But because it for a group of school children it's been easier for them to cancel.”

Furious about her daughter's disappointment Mrs Thorn added: “My husband and I got married at the Balmoral 26 years ago, and have returned many times since, but we will not be returning again.”

School confirms the prom will go ahead

Head Teacher at Boroughmuir High School, David Dempster has assured parents and pupils that the prom will go ahead at a later date.

He said: “Whilst hugely disappointed at the last minute cancellation by the Balmoral, we do understand completely the stresses that the hospitality industry is under due to the effects of Covid-19.

“We have been assisted by the Balmoral and by some of our parents in trying to find an alternative venue for the prom. It is proving to be impossible to find a venue that can accommodate an event of this size at such short notice but we are confident that the prom will be able to take place at another venue in the next couple of weeks. Our S6 leavers will be given good notice of this.”

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