A disabled schoolgirl who faced leaving school with no prom had a special one organised for her – with glass slippers and a horse-drawn carriage, just like a real-life Cinderella.
Sophie Docherty, 11, was the only Primary 7 leaver to finish Oaklands School, a special school in Edinburgh – and her hopes of having a glitzy goodbye party were dashed when no event was organised.
She had heard her older sister Amanda, 20, talking about getting glammed up for her own goodbye do, and longed to have the same experience.
But the lucky schoolgirl had a ‘fairy godmother’ in the form of her real godmother, Irene Guild, who was determined Sophie would go to the ball – even if she and mum Caroline Docherty, 39, had to do it themselves.
Single mum Caroline knew she would never be able to pay for the party her daughter had dreamed of.
But Irene set up an online fundraiser, and generous wellwishers raised £1,650 to pay for a huge party.
Just like Cinderella, Sophie had special ‘glass slippers’ and arrived in a horse-drawn carriage.
Her mum painstakingly stitched around 100 sequins onto a purple ballgown, so that Sophie, who is visually impaired, could feel like a princess.
There was even a red carpet at Royston Wardieburn Community Centre so Sophie could make a grand entrance, and a DJ played her favourite rave tunes.
Delighted mum Caroline said: “It was the perfect day for wee Sophie.
“About 30 or 40 people went, children that had a prom this year and others from her school.
“Sophie’s sister Amanda is now 20, and she always spoke about her prom – it was a big day too.
“There was nearly a disaster with the glass slippers, we almost thought they weren’t going to arrive.
“The shop sent black ones and we had to send them back and reorder them.
“They’ve got a little kitten heel, she loved them.”
Caroline spent two days stitching sequins onto a dress bought for Sophie by her gran.
And kind taxi drivers in Edinburgh who heard of the fundraiser clubbed together to pay for a horse-and-cart, adorned with white roses and complete with a driver wearing a bowler hat.
Balloons were donated by a friend of Caroline, who is a full-time carer for Sophie.
There was also a disco, playing Sophie’s favourite dance music, from her mum’s youth.
Caroline added: “There were all the light and Sophie’s favourite music – she loves raving.
“Her favourite is Dancing in the Dark by DJ Sammy.
“She was in her wheelchair for some of the time, spinning round and dancing with everyone.
“I was quite emotional – but they were happy tears.”
At 9am, Sophie’s prom preparations began with hair and make-up done by a beautician, and her nails carefully painted.
Sophie arrived at the party at noon on Saturday, in the horse-drawn carriage with mum Caroline, her sister Amanda, and little brother Adam, aged five.
The prom went on for three hours, with P7 children from neighbouring schools Braidburn School, and Granton Primary School as well as other pupils from Oaklands all invited.
Caroline and Irene spent the day before frantically decorating the hall with balloons and organising a tuck shop.
Caroline, from Royston, Edinburgh, added: “I’m so overwhelmed that people pulled together for Sophie.
“A lot of hard work went into it.”
Sophie started secondary school last week.
Her godmother, Irene, said: “It was absolutely superb.
“There was a last-minute scare about whether Sophie’s shoes would arrive in time – they sent black ones instead of glittery, so we had to get them changed.
“But it was alright in the end.
“And Sophie got what she really deserved, which was her prom.
“The support from the community has been completely overwhelming, everyone has come together to help pull this off.”