Funfair fury as booking mix-up sparks fears that Leeds charity event could be ‘ruined’

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A double-booking has left a mum-turned-charity chief fearing that she could be left counting the cost of an annual Leeds fundraiser.

Catherine Shaw, who runs the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research UK, claims she was given just 10 days notice that her sponsored walk and family day had been booked on the same site at the same time as Roundhay Park’s Holiday Funfair.

Catherine Shaw and her daughter Eleanor, seven, pictured at Roundhay Park, Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Catherine Shaw and her daughter Eleanor, seven, pictured at Roundhay Park, Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

The annual One Small Step event, which was provisionally booked with Leeds City Council in January, attracts families affected by Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) from far and wide.

Catherine, whose daughter Eleanor has PWS, set up the charity in 2010 to fund research into treatments for the rare genetic condition, which causes issues such as learning difficulties and a constant desire to eat.

She is to lodge a complaint but feels she has “no option” but to stage the “ruined” event beside the fair on Saturday despite fears that takings will plummet, potentially costing the charity rather than aiding it.

Leeds City Council has insisted that Catherine’s provisional booking was not confirmed until last week, although Catherine claims she was only sent the booking forms on May 13.

Catherine Shaw and her daughter Eleanor, seven, pictured at Roundhay Park, Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Catherine Shaw and her daughter Eleanor, seven, pictured at Roundhay Park, Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

“We have been left with no choice but to have it side-by-side with an enormous funfair” she said. “It’s difficult, we don’t know until Saturday what detrimental effect it will have but it’s not going to do us any favours.”

PWS is caused by a chromosome defect and affects less than one in every 15,000 children born in England.

The foundation’s 5km sponsored walk and free family fun day will feature stalls, rides, catering and mini golf near the park’s skatepark from 12noon.

A council spokeswoman said initial bookings should be followed by full applications eight weeks before events. She added: “Roundhay Park has sufficient capacity to host two events of this nature. We know from previous experience that charity events have benefited when there is more than one event.”

PIC: Simon Hulme

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