Yaresiders folk dancers celebrate 80 years

IT is a group built on the bond of friendship where novice dancers are transformed into sure footed performers.

And now the Yaresiders folk dance club has marked a milestone day in its well-established history by celebrating its 80th anniversary.

More than 70 dancers from past and present descended on Yarmouth during a special event which featured traditional folk music played by the Amaryllis Band.

Meanwhile, members were also blessed with the appearance of renowned dance caller Barry Bullimore who announced the steps throughout the evening.

Gillian Johnstone, secretary and treasurer of the club, has been a part of Yaresiders for 49 years.

She said: “We just had a really good night of dancing.

“People who used to be members came from all over the country to take part – some of which had not seen each other for 28 years.

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“There were times when we thought we were going to have to close the club because there were only eight to 10 members left, but it has definitely been the right thing to keep it going.”

The Yaresiders folk dance club used to be known as the English folk dance club when it was first launched as a series of night classes in 1931.

Back then, the club attracted more than 100 members and used to hold sessions in the Hospital School, Market Place, Yarmouth, as well as in members’ gardens.

The longest serving dancer at the club is Peggy Hazel who joined in the mid 1950s. Now 93 years old, Peggy has just published her eighth folk dance book entitled Dancing Dolls, which demonstrates new dances she has recently choreographed.

“I just love dancing,” she said. “Even as a three-year-old child I was dancing in front of the mirror.

“I first joined the folk club because I wanted to keep up dancing and it made me so happy to be able to do it.

“As long as I can move, I will keep on doing it. Even now, people ask me to invent brand new dances for their weddings and occasions.”

Do you have happy memories of your time at the Yaresiders folk dance club? Send us your pictures and thoughts to Letters at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk

For more information about the club contact Gordon and Gillian Johnstone on 01493 843099.