Hundreds of youngsters gathered last night to show their support for staging a local alternative to a popular dance competition which was recently axed.
Scores of children across the north-east were left bitterly disappointed when they learned that the upcoming Rock Challenge UK contest, which they have spent months rehearsing routines for, would not be going ahead due to “economic uncertainties”.
But parents and teachers are determined to ensure that those hours of practice will not go to waste and that youngsters will still be able to show off their skills.
Last night, about 200 people attended a public meeting at Mintlaw Academy to try to find a way forward.
One of the organisers, Don Allan, described the gathering as an important first step in arranging an alternative schools competition.
Mr Allan said: “It’s early days, and we know we can’t replicate Rock Challenge, but we can try to have a local event as there is sufficient support between the communities in Mintlaw, Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
“We want to pull something together, and we have definitely got people behind us.
“We will work as hard as we can to put on an event so that the kids aren’t disappointed and have a stage to perform on.”
Mr Allan said that, at Mintlaw alone, 93 children had been preparing for the ill-fated Rock Challenge contest in Portsomouth in February.
The mental health worker said his daughter’s confidence rocketed after joining in with preparations for the annual competition when she was at school – and she now works as a choreographer.
He added: “I’ve seen the added benefits of my child being involved, and I want other children to experience that feeling. We will try our best for them.”
Headteacher at Mintlaw Academy, Linda Duthie, said: “We have already been in contact with parents and have been in early stage of planning for this year’s planned Rock Challenge, so we are keen to support a more localised approach.”
Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee chairwoman, added: “I am pleased to see that parents are in the early stages of making the arrangements for a local version of this dance competition. Their ingenuity is to be applauded.”
Around 100,000 young people from across the UK and Ireland were expected to perform at the event next year, and a similar local version is also being planned for Inverness to compensate for its loss.