You shall not go to the ball in summer

PUBLISHED: 12:30 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

The summer ball at the Heath Sports Centre has been called off

The summer ball at the Heath Sports Centre has been called off

A sports club annual summer ball has been cancelled – just five weeks before the event. A lack of support means the four-day event organised by Heath Sports Centre, due to be held from May 18, has been scrapped. A disappointed organiser and club manager T

A sports club annual summer ball has been cancelled - just five weeks before the event.

A lack of support means the four-day event organised by Heath Sports Centre, due to be held from May 18, has been scrapped.

A disappointed organiser and club manager Toby Snowdon said: "To organise such an event obviously involves a lot of hard work.

"So to call it off at this stage is incredibly disappointing, not just for myself and the organisers, but for the people who showed an interest, and those who come every year."

The Big Weekend had been planned to start with a screening of England's greatest football achievement - the 1966 World Cup Final - followed by the summer ball on the Friday and culminating with a beer festival on the Sunday.

"It's such a shame because there was so much going on. It would have been a great weekend," said Toby.

"I think the fact that we moved the ball forward this year probably didn't help.

"We usually hold it in June, but because of the World Cup decided to move it."

The ball's failure meant it was no longer feasible to run the rest of the events during the weekend.

The event running costs were £32,000, with the marquee costing £16,000. To cover costs and raise more money for charity, ticket prices had to be increased by £10 to £65 - a factor Toby believes contributed to the lack of support.

"Previously, we have run the night at a loss. This year, however, we wanted to start the night on balance and, as a result, give more money to charity.

"I don't think people really realise how much it costs to run an event like this. And we certainly don't make a profit from it. It's all done for the community," he said.

The ball was in its 11th year and more than 500 people enjoyed last year's event, with 620 attending the previous year.

With previous figures so high, Toby and the Heath Sports Centre staff were expecting an equally high response. However, with only five weeks left, only 160 of the 480 tickets had been sold.

Toby said: "With only weeks away the response wasn't looking positive so we had to make the decision to call it all off.

"Because of the sheer size and price of the marquee, it had to be filled. Going ahead with the response that we'd had meant it just wasn't practical.

"We had planned to use the marquee over the four-day period, but without the ball the rest of the weekend couldn't happen."

A refund will be made to those who had purchased tickets, and they will be offered first refusal on future events.

Despite the problems, Toby said: "We haven't been put off doing things like this again."

He said the beer festival could be re-scheduled for the weekend when the centre runs an It's A Knockout competition on the last weekend in August.

He said: "Our aim is to get the core people back, re-brand and start again.

"Although we've had to cancel, we're not dead, not by a long shot.

"We will be back bigger, better and stronger than ever.

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