Supporters of a yearly dance competition have vowed to ensure it can return after organisers revealed they were forced to pull the plug due to “uncertain economic conditions”.
Rock Challenge has been a source of excitement for children at schools across the Highlands and north-east for years, and scores of youngsters were left “gutted” when the upcoming competition was axed earlier this week.
Many had already spent months practising routines they hoped would lead them to success.
Event organisers sent out a letter to participants explaining why the event will not take place in 2020, blaming a mixture of financial constraints.
They said: “The events rely each year on local government and corporate sponsorship, grants, participation fees and ticket sales to cover the cost.
“Major costs of production include venue hire and the associated costs of producing, staging, lighting and sound.
“The current uncertain economic conditions are making it difficult to sponsor charitable events.
“The result is that the income generated from sponsorships, school participation fees and ticket sales in 2020 will be insufficient to produce the events to the high standard that the schools deserve.”
Banff and Buchan MP, David Duguid, has been in contact to offer his assistance with ensuring it can return in 2021.
He said: “I’ve been privileged to be involved in this event in recent years.
“I know how much it means to the pupils, families and schools – as well as the wider communities they represent.”
Former Fraserburgh Academy pupil, Dillon Third, took part in the last three Rock Challenge events.
The 16-year-old, who left school in the summer to study at the MGA School of Performing Arts in Edinburgh, said: “Rock Challenge is a huge event for the schools who take part.
“At Fraserburgh we were fortunate to make it through to two of the last three Scottish finals in Dundee and the excitement at being able to represent our school was what made the event so special.
“I know from speaking to friends I’ve made at other schools how excited they were at getting the chance to perform again in 2020 and how disappointed they are that it’s not going ahead.”
Dingwall and Seaforth councillor, Alister Mackinnon said the cancellation had come as “a blow” to children at several schools across the north.
Organisers of UK Rock Challenge have written to venues to create a potential tour schedule for 2021 and to seek support from sponsors.