HEALTH inspectors have been called in after a number of dignitaries fell ill after the annual Civic Ball in Newport.
Around 150 people – including the mayors of Newport, Wellington, Bridgnorth and Telford & Wrekin packed into Harper Adams University College in Edgmond last Saturday.
Also in attendance was Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard. Guests were treated to a five-course meal, entertainment and singing.
However, a number of people, thought to be about 20, fell ill the following day with sickness and diarrhoea. Council health inspectors have now been called in to see whether there was a problem with hygiene at the university college.
A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesman said: “This matter is subject to an ongoing investigation into the source of the problem. We have made a visit to the premises Harper Adams University College and are waiting on the results of tests.
“We are also in discussion with the people affected. Until that investigation is concluded, we are not in a position to speculate as to the cause of the symptoms that people experienced but will continue to work closely with the University College.”
A spokeswoman for the university college said the institution was cooperating with the council.
She said: “Harper Adams takes pride in its catering and currently holds a five star rating awarded by the Telford & Wrekin Environmental Health Team.
“The university college is aware that some guests have been unwell and has been pleased to co-operate fully with the environmental health team in looking into this matter.”
The event was organised by Newport Town Mayor Councillor Roy Scammell, who himself was ill the following day.
He believes the problem was caused by a guest spreading a virus around the room.
“The theory is that someone with the virus went to the ball and happened to spread it around,” he said.
“I believe if it had been food poisoning, it would have kicked in quicker.
“Samples are been taken by doctors and they are saying it’s viral.”
Councillor Andrew Eade was also at the ball.
He said: “I understand a number of people have been quite poorly as a result of this.
“It’s a great pity following what was a great night at Harper Adams. Everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly and the staff were very attentive.”
Councillor Scammell added: “It was a first class do. I was very pleased with the numbers that attended.”