DST - Leamington Spa celebrate 60th anniversary
December 22, 2021
Congratulations to RSCDS Leamington Spa who celebrated their 60th anniversary in November 2021; here Margaret Baker, Branch Secretary tells us a bit more about their history and how they celebrated...
'The inaugural meeting of the Branch was held on 4 November 1961, over 60 people were present and 39 were enrolled as members of the Leamington Spa and District Branch. Miss Helen Gardiner-Jones was elected Chairman and Mrs Claire Broome the class teacher. Claire taught at the Branch until 1994 and one of the founder members, Barrie Simcock, still attends the classes today. Although the class had live music at the start, sadly, this stopped being possible and in 1975 the class decided to invest in musical equipment. Barrie took on the role of ‘class musician’ and has remained our musical expert ever since. The class had its fair share of romances and no less than six couples, including Barrie and Christine Simcock, met and married through the class.
In the early days the Branch dancers competed in many local competitions and festivals and in 1970 the Ladies team took 1st prize and were awarded a large silver cup. Over the years the Branch has hosted many day schools, dances, balls, dinners, children’s classes and ceilidhs. We have also had a walking/lunch group and in the summer, Dancing in the Park.
David Huxley (The Gentleman – Book 35) was Secretary and an instrumental member of the Branch for many years but is remember by many as the Master of Ceremony, a post he held for 26 years, at the first fortnight ceilidhs at St Andrews. Another member of the class to have a dance published by the RSCDS was Jack Frosham (The Road to Mallaig (Book 36) and Bob Shakespeare (who played at many class dances, functions and events) wrote the music for Flight to Melbourne – Book 47. In 1984 one of our other talented members, Hilda Bulmer, embroidered the class banner which is displayed at all special events.
Classes are currently held in Trinity Street Church Hall where we have danced (almost) every Thursday since 1978. Our current teacher Margaret Baker took over from Claire when she retired in 1994 and was joined by Jane Lewis in 2017.
Sadly we were unable to hold the planned ball due to COVID restrictions but we got together with cake, prosecco and dancing and had a most enjoyable evening.'
Thanks for sharing Margaret. If you have a story you'd like to feature in Dance Scottish Together, email firstname.lastname@example.org.