PARENTS, teachers and friends went to extraordinary lengths to ensure an end of year rite of passage went ahead despite a student being struck with Covid.

Barnard Castle School sixth former Evie Brenkley was all set for her leavers’ ball – which had already been delayed from July because of the pandemic – with her dress picked out, and hair done to perfection.

Then, days before the glittering event was due to be held at Ramside Hall, near Durham, she was confined to home with Covid.

But, thanks to the ingenuity of her parents and friends, she was able to share the once in a lifetime event. Mum Dorothy, dad Stephen and her friends came to the rescue so she didn’t miss out.

Her parents found out what was on the menu at Ramside, replicated the meal at home and they all dressed for dinner. And her friends used technology to take her to the ball, even the dance floor, where she appeared by smartphone thanks to video-calling for the duration of the event.

Evie said: “I was really looking forward to celebrating my time at Barney with my friends and teachers and was gutted when I tested positive. But my parents and friends were fantastic and didn’t let me stay upset too long. Not for the first time in the pandemic, the power of technology prevailed as I joined my fellow leavers virtually.


Evie Brenkleys virtual ball

Evie Brenkley's virtual ball


“Though it wasn't what I had imagined, it was, considering the last 18 months, perhaps a more apt ending to my Barney journey – and, it’s safe to say, I had a ball.”

Headmaster Tony Jackson added: “The sixth form leavers’ ball is a highlight of the calendar and something our students look forward to immensely as they progress through school. We were disappointed to cancel in July and absolutely thrilled to restage it this month.

“Everyone really felt for Evie when she went down with Covid. But it’s typical of our students to exhibit such ingenuity and resolve so she didn’t miss out completely and a great time was had by all.”