It all started at Sandy Bay holiday camp 51 years ago when my Mum who was a keen dancer wanted to waltz and my Dad who was definitely not a dancer didn't want to, so she grabbed her 10 year old son and that was when it all began.

On returning home fresh with my flat footed waltz, I joined the Melody Ballroom in Worcester Park and for the next six years I learned to dance Modern and Latin until I was 16 and we moved to Chiddingfold in Surrey. After we had settled in my Mum joined the village Old Time dance club run by Alan and Betty Gale and like a good son I used to cycle down with her then cycle down again to collect her. After a lot of coercing I was persuaded to come in and dance old time instead of cycling back and forth and after 47 years I still am.

I first met Joyce at a Chiddingfold dance and we danced all over our area from then on. The first dance we ever demonstrated together was again at Chiddingfold, the Serene Saunter. A year or two later I met Jill Lewington (photo right) and we trained together with Rita Pover in North London and took our early qualifications. We went on to compete, run a club and take professional qualifications for some 10 years until Jill married.

I started dancing with Barbara Wood and we continued our training, did some TV work, ran dancing holidays at Torbay Chalet Hotel with the late Phil Cockram and worked with Bryan Smith on the Canberra.  Coincidentally Joyce started dancing with Barbara's husband Lionel and they ran the PP club in Guildford. We also all got together and started the Aldershot Ball of the Year, now sadly no more due to spiralling costs.

Due to ill health I stopped dancing in 1982 and after a long break found myself back at Joyce's club with Arlene another lovely dance partner. She moved to the West Country and sadly Joyce's partner at that time, Alf Puttock passed away and the Joyce and Richard partnership started all over again. Since that time I have run Summertime Dancing with Joyce and have been a committee member of the Old Time Dance Society having served as Chairman and Treasurer seeing it through some troubled financial times.

So to coin a cliché, I owe it all to Mum.

RICHARD IS A MEMBER OF SEVERAL PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES.

Guild of Professional Teachers of Dance GPTD

United Kingdom Alliance of Teachers of Dancing UKA

Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing ISTD

The Old Time Dance Society OTDS