Sunday, 05 December 2021
PUPILS from Gillotts School in Henley celebrated their unofficial prom night at Badgemore Park Golf Club.
More than 100 students from year 11 attended the event, which was organised by parents Georgia Lacey and Juliette Staines, from Shiplake, after the school cancelled the official celebrations because of uncertainty over the coronavirus restrictions.
However, the secondary academy in Gillotts Lane supported Monday night’s party by advising the women on how to run it safely.
Students arrived in a range of vehicles including classic and modern sports cars, farm vehicles and a motorcycle and posed on a red carpet before heading inside the venue to dance.
They hugged each other on arrival and many chatted about their GCSE results, which came out last week, and their plans for the future.
The boys mostly wore evening suits while the girls wore ballgowns in a variety of colours.
Scarlett Steele, Amy Browne and Hannah Leach-Scrivens turned up in a blue Lotus Elise owned by Amy’s father Jason.
Ava Timms arrived on a Harley-Davison Fatboy motorbike driven by her grandfather Barry Dickason.
Her mother Joanne Hough had driven her to the venue and she jumped on the bike in the car park before Mr Dickason, 78, slowly cruised towards the front entrance.
Victoria McDonagh arrived in a silver Ford Mustang while Felix Wilson and Thomas Mearns travelled on a large John Deere tractor owned by one of Thomas’s relatives who is a farmer.
Naia Chapman, Luke Davies, Ed Day and Laura McLoughlin arrived in the back of a 1951 Mk I Land Rover while Alana Huggins turned up in a US Army Jeep from the Second World War.
Others arrived in sports cars including Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes with the engines revving loudly as they pulled up.
The students said they were pleased to be celebrating after a year in which their school was mostly shut between November and March and they had to learn virtually from home.
Ava, of Blackmore Lane, Sonning Common, said: “We’re happy to be here and so excited. I’m just glad that something was able to go ahead as it has been a rubbish year with all the lockdowns and we were so disappointed when they said the prom wasn’t going to happen.”
Victoria, of Gainsborough Hill. Henley, said: “It’s great that our whole year can get together for one last evening and one last photo before we go on to new things.
“It has been a difficult year but we’ve stuck together, supported one another and done the best we can and most people were pleased with their results. Now we’re ready to celebrate.”
Will Bonser, from Binfield Heath, said: “Everyone looks amazing tonight and there’s a lovely atmosphere. We’re all so happy to be together again because coronavirus kept us apart for such a big part of the year.”
David Pangani said: “It has been a pretty hectic year, to be honest, though our teachers helped us a lot and were very supportive. Everyone has made a real effort tonight with their outfits.”
Mrs Lacey, whose son Oliver Shute attends the school, said: “It’s understandable that Gillotts didn’t want to stage the prom but they’ve been very supportive and this is the least we could do after all the kids have been through.
“We had the idea back in May and although the date had to change three times, we were determined that it was going to happen, come hell or high water. It has been a shocking year and this is the one thing the children look forward to. The girls looked absolutely stunning and the boys scrubbed up well for the night. They were all genuinely grateful and lots of them came up to thank us.”
Mrs Staines, whose daughter Neve is in year 11, said: “The students have been waiting for this all year and they’re so pleased because they haven’t seen each other for months.
“Georgia and I didn’t want them to be disappointed and we spurred each other on to make sure the prom went ahead.”
• See more photographs from the Gillotts unofficial prom in next week’s Henley Standard.
18 August 2021
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