Awards event moved as snow brings roof down at top hotel

A MAJOR awards ceremony has been relocated to a new venue after heavy snowfalls caused a roof to collapse at a luxury Edinburgh hotel.

Prestonfield House Hotel is no longer to host The Spirit of Scotland Awards tomorrow night, as workers battle to resurrect the marquee-style roof on its prestigious Stables outbuilding, where the hotel plays host to hundreds of glittering dinners, awards ceremonies and weddings every year.

The ceremony, which will honour Scots who have been successful in areas including the arts, the environment, food and sport, has been moved to the Mansfield Traquair venue in central Edinburgh.

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Mark Rowley, a spokesman for the five-star hotel, which is owned by James Thomson, also owner of Edinburgh's the Witchery by the Castle, said all other events planned for the rest of the week would go ahead as usual.

Staff are working on heating the Georgian building to melt the snow currently weighing down the roof, while a crane has been brought in to raise the structure to its usual position.

"One particular event has made the precautionary decision to move to a temporary venue," said Mr Rowley. "Our staff are working round the clock to ensure that the roof is ready as soon as possible. We plan to be up and running shortly."

A fundraiser in aid of children's charity Barnardo's is scheduled for Saturday night, while the venue also plans to host a string of cabaret events during December.

"We are working round the clock to ensure that the roof is mended by then, as we know there is a lot of fundraising money at stake for the Banardo's event," added Mr Rowley.

Susan Mathieson, managing director of Event Consultants Scotland, which is organising the Scotsman-sponsored Spirit of Scotland Awards, said: "There was a problem with the roof at Prestonfield and as a precaution, we decided to move it to another venue."

The awards have, in previous years, paid tribute to the work of celebrities such as James McAvoy, Ewan McGregor, Gordon Ramsay, Alex Ferguson, Kirsty Wark and JK Rowling.

In 2004, the Prestonfield House Hotel gained notoriety when Lord Mike Watson was arrested and charged with wilful fireraising after a drink-fuelled incident at the hotel during which he set fire to curtains at the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards.