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
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