Shropshire school leavers leaning towards budget-style proms
It may be a tradition usually known for glitz, glamour and luxury – but some Shropshire school leavers have done things a little differently this year.
Dresses and jewels worth thousands and Hummers and Range Rovers roaring into the car park, usually sponsored by the band of mum and dad, are often the fare for the glamorous ball celebrating the end of school days for our youngsters.
The lavish parties, which we seem to have adopted into our culture from American tradition, may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they give teens the chance to celebrate their achievements with school pals and even say heartfelt goodbyes after many years together.
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But the key to a special prom is to make everlasting memories, and one pupil made an entrance his classmates will never forget.
Burton Borough School pupil Lewis Gutteridge arrived at Lilleshall Sports Centre, driving a gang of his mates on a vintage Fergie TE20 tractor he restored with his father. It was apt for the 16-year-old, who will start an apprenticeship at Rea Valley Tractors in September.
His mother Rose said: “It went really well, the sun was out and they had a really good time. They arrived through an archway and there were airhorns going. It was quite nice. He’s been restoring this tractor for two years and he’s always had an interest in engineering.
"It just goes to show you don’t need to turn up in a Hummer or a fancy car to have a good time. One of his friends turned up in a wheelbarrow.”
Madeley Academy pupils Porche Enever and her best friend Charlie Teece, both 16, went to their prom at Holiday Inn in Telford town centre.
Typically, girls spend a small fortune on prom dresses. But Porche showed her frugal nature, by picking up a beautiful gown from Boohoo.com for just £16.50. Her mother Tara said the girls had a wonderful time.
She said: “They were unbelievable excited leading up to it. You would have thought they were going away for a few weeks to a hot country. They had been planning everything since about February.
“Porche went in a big BMW and Charlie went in a Land Rover. Most girls spend a fortune on the dress, but she found a bargain. A lot of planning went into it, including nails, hair, shoes and handbag. She started getting ready the day before when she had her nails done.
“I think proms are more of an American thing, but they’re slowly getting more popular.
"In this day and age the kids love it. It’s all about dressing up, feeling good and hanging out with their friends. It’s good as well because they’re safe with the teachers watching them.”
Venues have seen a marked increase in the interest in proms in recent years, jumping on the bandwagon to provide showpiece events.
But with the planning and anticipation can come stress and worry, so one Shropshire hotel has sought to take away the fear so that everyone can have a good time.
Lisa Snape, sales and marketing manager at the Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge, said: “The popularity of proms has most certainly increased over the last five years.
“Previously they were booked for secondary school age children but now primary school leavers are also enjoying the occasion of marking the end of that stage of their education.
“This year we introduced the ‘no stress’ prom package as we wanted to cater for those who didn’t want to get dressed up but still wanted to celebrate with their friends.
“This meant we had people coming in jeans and T-shirts and at other proms the full ball gowns and tuxedos.
“Some parents and schools book these proms 12 months in advance as they want the specific date and venue. We love seeing the children enjoying themselves whatever their age.”
Mrs Snape said parents and school staff often went to the extremes of making the event like a mini wedding.
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