One-stop prom shop strikes a Chord for charity

A top ten of School Prom Show models: All the girls selected to be models at the show, with, centre, Hirsty from Capital FM who was one of the judges.
A top ten of School Prom Show models: All the girls selected to be models at the show, with, centre, Hirsty from Capital FM who was one of the judges.
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Finding the perfect dress, getting your hair just right and making sure your make-up is immaculate - the school prom has taken England by storm.

It is a relatively new concept for us Brits but the Americans have been splashing out on teenage dreams for years.

Many families fork out hundreds of pounds to make sure their child looks perfect for the prom and now a South Yorkshire charity has come up with an idea to help the elderly while you are spending that cash.

Lost Chord, a Rotherham-based charity which uses music to improve the lives of dementia sufferers, is organising the region’s first School Prom Show.

They describe it as a one-stop prom shop, a bit like a wedding fair but brimming with everything prom.

It is the brainchild of fundraising and marketing manager Tina Harrison who is hoping it will not only boost charity coffers but build links between the generations.

“Teenagers usually have a fabulous relationship with their grandparents and it is superb that with this show, the young are doing something that will benefit the old,” she said.

“Most people know about children’s charities but dementia often gets left behind - even though the number of people suffering from dementia is growing.

“I think the show is a lovely idea because teenagers might not give dementia much thought but a lot of school children will be touched by it because of their grandparents.”

Lost Chord produces more than 850 interactive musical sessions a year in more than 70 settings designed to stimulate responses from dementia sufferers.

It has been so successful there are now satellite schemes across the country and there are benefits for everybody involved.

The music not only has a calming effect on dementia sufferers, some have been known to speak for the first time in months during a Lost Chord concert and others find ways to express themselves through dance.

There are already lots of big names involved in the prom show and negotiations are ongoing behind the scenes to tempt a couple of celebrities to get involved.

There will be a catwalk fashion show taking place every hour and that is being run by the personal shoppers at Debenhams.

Organisers are still hunting for two more boys willing to step into model shoes but have already selected 10 South Yorkshire teenagers to show off the girls’ outfits.

The young models had to take part in X Factor-style auditions.

On the day there will be a competition for both sexes to win the ultimate prom outfit, including a limo ride for the male winner.

There will also be a hall crammed with trade stands covering every aspect of the big prom night.

Tina said: “The prom show obviously a fast growing market. There are many more schools celebrating this milestone in a student’s life.

“At 15 and 16 they really want to have a big party. What we want to do is bring all the prom suppliers together so teenagers can come along and enjoy a day in preparation for this event.

“The schools I have spoken to say how excited the girls get the year before and start planning it very early.

“We want to bring a bit more excitement to the preparation. It will be a bit like a wedding show but all things prom related.

“We have been planning this since last spring and we have had a fantastic response.

“It is a new market and there are lots of people who are involved in prom related goods but are still looking how to get to this age group.

“We want to see the show grow so it is one of the biggest shows in South Yorkshire.”

The show isn’t just aimed at pupils and parents. Tina also wants to attract teachers who will be able to get fresh ideas for decorations, themes and entertainment for proms.

And it isn’t just for the girls - there will be plenty to help the boys look good as well as a few masculine surprises.

The Prom Show will take place at Hellaby Hall Hotel, Rotherham, on Sunday, March 27. Tickets cost £3.50. Find out more at www.schoolpromshow.co.uk

Just the thing for a family cuddle

IF you want to wrap the whole family in cuddly love this Valentine’s Day we have just the thing.

The ever popular children’s story ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ is brought to life in a new DVD.

It features Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare in the stage production of the ultimate charming story of love.

Guess How Much I Love You has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide, a copy is sold every 23 seconds and the book has been translated into 37 languages.

Any parent who has read it will know exactly why and there are plenty of Sheffield children who know it off by heart.

Theatre for pre-schoolers is growing and with productions like this it is easy to see why it is so successful.

Even from the comfort of our own sofa, my son was joining in with the songs and actions.

There is always a risk when it comes to transposing favourite books but this production sticks faithfully to the original look while adding new and catchy tunes.

It is an hour of bright and upbeat entertainment which is guaranteed to prompt some family cuddles.

For more information and a trailer visit www.guessonstage.com