On Monday December 14th 2009, our ELP pupils were lucky enough to attend this year’s annual Variety Club Christmas Party at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The event is nationally renowned and we were delighted to be able to give our pupils the opportunity to take part in something that is such a well known annual occasion.
The trip was ably and diligently marshalled by Mrs Todd, assisted by Mrs Menzies, Mr Leslie and Mrs Binnie – and we would like to say a big “thank you”, especially to Mrs Todd, for making this happen.
We travelled in a variety of ways in order to get to the EICC (pictured above).
Firstly, we set out on foot in the cold December rain to the local train station – taking the long way round in order that our wheelchair bound pupils could access the platform for Edinburgh. We then boarded the 10.37am train into the city, with a kind guard helping us get ramps sorted so that our wheels could access the carriage. We watched as we whizzed past Wallyford, Musselburgh, Portobello before finally reaching our destination – Waverley Station.
As we arrived we could see the Christmas lights, the trees, the German Market and the big wheel pictured above. Edinburgh looked very festive indeed! The EICC is not really very far from the station however it is not well served by a bus service at the moment – much to do with the fact Princes Street is still a permanent road works. We also had to consider the needs of all of our party and so opted to take a 5 minute taxi hop to Haymarket. Again we had the services of a kind taxi driver who helped us get our hot wheels into the first cab (with a bit of help from Rachael). Soon we were on our way down Castle Terrace and heading towards the main event!
When we arrived we were greeted by two very smart men wearing uniforms. At first some of us thought the Navy were guarding the event but then it was explained to us that the men were in uniform for their job – they were to be smart and professional looking when they greeted visitors into the centre. We were soon shown down into the main function suite (pictured above). It was set out with lots of big round tables, had lovely twinkling lights all round the walls of the room and had a very Christmassy feel indeed! Table 31 had been set aside for Preston Lodge – the organisers had thought of everything – and there were exactly the right number of chairs for our personnel. We felt we had been made very welcome indeed!
The party started off with a lovely concert performed by a variety of organisations:
- Lighthouse Dance Project (a dance group with special needs dancers who performed two routines in delightful manner)
- Firrhill High School Orchestra and Percussion Band (who were frankly outstanding – there were hairs standing up on the back of necks during their performances)
- West Lothian Wind Band (who ran an excellent medley of Christmas classics)
- A young lady called Beth who performed extracts from River Dance (and amazed Dale with her coiled, curly hair!)
and one other special guest star…can you guess who it was?
Father Christmas dropped by on his way to Lapland to continue making his Ben 10s and Hannah Montana dolls. With him he brought a sleigh full of presents – each one specially chosen for our lucky guests! Mrs Todd and Dale went up to meet Santa when he called out our school name and collected a sack of goodies for our table. There were lovely toiletries and leather handbags for the girls and CD players for the boys. Some got art sets and others got cuddly toys. It was a very generous Santa we encountered in Edinburgh!
After the excitement of the sleigh and the presents Santa spent a lot of time going round the tables meeting all the boys and girls. Some of us got our photographs taken with him – and we will download these later this week during ICT.
The party then got into full flow with a disco and games. We danced like Beyonce, musical statued with the best of them and took part in a massive conga round the EICC. (We have a lovely photo of Mrs Todd taking part in this – so watch this space!)
Sadly, it was all too soon time to go home. And we made our way back to Prestonpans via planes, trains and automobiles (well foot, train and taxi).
We all had a fab time and just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who made it possible, especially Mrs Todd!