CHARITIES and businesses have lost tens of thousands of pounds after an exhibition for families with young children was cancelled.
Organisers of the The Good Parenting Show Scotland now face the threat of legal action. It was due to be held at Hampden on May 17 and 18 but never went ahead, leaving potential exhibitors looking for refunds.
But attempts to recover money have been met with no response and efforts to contact organiser Kevin Daly, 41, have ended in failure.
One advertiser said she was told when she called that Mr Daly, the show director, had disappeared.
The show's Twitter and Facebook accounts have vanished and mobile phone numbers given to would-be exhibitors have become unobtainable.
Mr Daly's wife Valerie says he left their home near Ayr three weeks ago after a row.
She said she did not know what was happening about refunds, and insisted she had nothing to do with the business.
While the show website says the event, aimed at the parents of the 735,000 children aged up to 12 in Scotland, is being rescheduled, Hampden and some would-be exhibitors say as far as they are concerned it is cancelled and there are no rescheduling plans.
A source confirmed that the matter is now in the hands of the legal team of Sodexo, which has a contract to run events at the stadium. The source said that as the organisers had "cancelled with short notice" it was looking at whether to pursue legal action to reclaim thousands in lost revenue over the hiring of the suites within Hampden.
More than 100 exhibitors and more than 5000 parents were expected for the event, which organisers described as "the only major exhibition in Scotland for parents of children aged bump to 12 years old."
But the cancellation, notified to Hampden 10 days before the event was due to be staged, has led to a string of questions that remain unanswered.
Potential exhibitors were told in promotional literature: "We know times are tough for nearly everyone and unlike other parenting events which have gone before, we make sure visitors' fees and exhibitors' fees are kept to a realistic minimum."
But attempts by some exhibitors to find out what was happening were met with no response.
Promotional material says that the team behind the show, Ayrshire-based Evolved Sales and Marketing Ltd, have "a combined experience of over 20 years in parenting events, advertising and marketing". Companies House records show the company was formed in September last year.
Mr Daly, originally from Liverpool, is joint owner of Evolved with his wife Valerie Hall, with who he has three children.
He has a background in advertising sales, recently working for the Glasgow-based disability lifestyle magazine Enable.
Among those chasing money is Louise Wilson, founder of the free Edinburgh-based parenting magazine MADE.
She says the exhibition organisers took out a full-page advertisement worth £500, but have not paid up.
"It was only when I started chasing him for payment that I found out he had disappeared," she said. "I feel so hard done by."
A Sodexo source said that a legal team was now looking at what action to take next.
Alloa-based charity Scottish Autism said it was told that the show was initially postponed and was still waiting for news of the refund for the hundreds of pounds it spent on its presence at the event.
The Herald was unable to contact Mr Daly.