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June and July 2022…..

Seven Jubilee Parties and a Wedding!

We’ve had a very busy couple of months at our groups celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Group Leader Jann’s up and coming nuptuals.

For the Jubilee we danced to music from the 1950s; we shared memories of the Coronation, meeting the Queen, and 1950s fashion and food; we donned red white and blue outfits, tiaras, crowns and hats, and we waved flags – check out Maria from our Bilton group in her Ginger Spice Union Jack dress; we were entertained by the amazing Misspent Ukes; we ate wonderful food provided by Community Stars Catering Services; we made patriotic cakes (well, volunteer Muriel did, and she made a superb job of it); and the Friday Knaresborough group actually met the Queen – well, a life-size cardboard version of her, kindly provided by group member Anne)…..

Many Congratulations Jann and Nick!

After 4 attempts to get married – all of which were scuppered by COVID restrictions and lockdowns – our lovely Group Leader Jann Forde finally got married to Nick Goodman on 21st July!

In the weeks and days before the wedding the groups gave Jann a good send-off with a lot of fun and some lovely lovely gifts….


Starbeck Community Day

Thank you to everyone who joined Marg, Jean and me for some brilliant dancing at the Starbeck Community Day today. You were wonderful! Even our local MP Andrew Jones and County Councillor Philip Broadbank couldn’t resist joining in!


Jann is getting married very soon!

Dancing for Well-Being’s Group Leader, Jann, had a lovely surprise at the Starbeck group this week. The group presented her with a gift for her wedding on 21st July. They said “For the past 3 and a half years (forget COVID!) you have brought joy into our lives, and we hope this white rose “Tranquility” brings you and Nick joy for many years to come”.

Such a beautiful day!

We were able to sit outside to enjoy refreshments and a good natter after dancing today (15th June 2022) at our Bilton group. Larrie, Bilton Community Centre’s Caretaker, very kindly put the umbrellas up so we had the shade we needed. No-one wanted to leave!


Knaresborough Community Festival – April 2022

Thank you to everyone who danced with us at the wonderful Knaresborough Community Festival this year. Great weather, lovely people, brilliant event!

Easter 2022

Celebrating Easter at the Bilton group with some lovely Easter bonnets and bunnies!

Happy 80th Birthday Kath!

We had a fantastic turn-out at the St Andrew’s Starbeck group for Kath’s 80th Birthday – they’re not a group to turn down cake when it’s on offer! But seriously, we all love Kath and wanted to celebrate with her and wish her many happy returns. We had another birthday to celebrate as well – our lovely volunteer Jo’s. Many happy returns to you too Jo!

Celebrating Brenda’s big birthday

Our much-loved Knaresborough Tuesday group member Brenda celebrated her 90th birthday with us recently. She’s renowned in the group for bursting into fits of giggles, and the rest of us can’t help joining in of course. We wish you a wonderful 91st year Brenda, full of love and laughter!

Mayor’s visit to the Bilton Group

We were lucky enough to have a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Harrogate, Cllr Trevor Chapman and Mrs Janet Chapman, to our Bilton group in January 2022. They were great sports, joining in enthusiastically with every dance.

Mayor, Cllr Trevor Chapman, said “The Mayoress and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and we fully appreciate all the benefits that it brings after taking part. We wish Dancing for Well-Being every success in the future”.


Christmas 2021

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 put a stop to our usual Christmas parties, but we didn’t let it stop us dressing up and doing lots of lovely Christmas dances at 6 of our groups….

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

We were delighted to be able to celebrate our lovely member Elizabeth’s 80th birthday with her at the Friday Knaresborough group recently. Many happy returns Elizabeth!

Tea Party at The Cairn Hotel

Thanks to a generous donation from the Arnold Clark Community Fund this year we were able to treat everyone in Dancing for Well-Being to a tea party at The Cairn Hotel on 17th September. We had fun and frolics with “Yorkshire Life Aquatic” – – who danced us back to the glamour of 1950s Hollywood and the Million Dollar Mermaids. It was wonderful! Just what we all needed to lift our spirits and keep us going through the autumn and winter months –

High Sheriff visit

We were delighted to have a visit this week to our Bilton group from the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire – Venetia Wrigley. She joined in every dance and loved it! She said she wished Dancing for Well-Being could be rolled out across the country!

And we’re back!

Absolutely thrilled to be starting up our groups again. It’s 17th May 2021 and after a very long 14 months when we couldn’t meet because of the Covid pandemic it’s absolutely wonderful to get together again at our groups. We are dancing for joy 😍🙌 💃🏻

Happy 80th Birthday Joan!

You’d never believe it to look at her but one of our longest-serving Hampsthwaite group members – Joan – has just celebrated her 80th birthday. We sang to her, shared some lovely cake and, despite what this photo looks like, managed to avoid singeing anyone’s eyebrows on the sparkler candle!

Joan’s husband Keith loves to write poetry and wrote this beautiful poem to mark her special birthday –

Thank you Feather Smales Scailes

We’d like to say a big thank you to Feather Smailes Scales Property in Harrogate for their recent generous donation. We’ve been able to buy some lovely new props for our groups – glitter hats, ribbon sticks, shaker eggs, elastic – and sparkler candles for celebrating members’ special birthdays. As you can see we’re putting these to good use…

Celebrating big birthdays

In the first week of 2020 after the Christmas and new year break we celebrated two big birthdays. We all wished our lovely Boroughbridge group volunteer Jo a very happy birthday and many happy returns. Many thanks to volunteer Muriel for the delicious cake!

And at our St Andrews group in Starbeck we sang Happy Birthday to Wendy and enjoyed a beautiful cake made by the birthday girl herself. Thank you Wendy!


And even more parties….

During our last week before the Christmas and New Year break we had two brilliant parties at our Boroughbridge and Bilton groups. Thank you to both the Mayor of Boroughbridge – Cllr Geoff Haldenby – and to NYCC Cllr Robert Windass for making the effort at such a busy time of year to join us at the Boroughbridge party to find out what we do and meet our members and volunteers. We really appreciated your visit.

Thank you so much to Graham Archer for taking these amazing photos (above and below) at the Boroughbridge party.

At the Bilton party we were joined by Angela Smith – Harrogate ASDA’s Community Champion, who had very kindly organised a generous donation towards the food for all the parties. Thank you Angela and thank you ASDA!

The Harrogate Spa Town Ukes were on fabulous form at both the Bilton and Boroughbridge  parties and we are so grateful to them for fitting us into their increasingly busy schedule.

We were also delighted to be the recipients of a Magic Little Grant through a partnership between Localgiving and the Postcode Community Trust. The Postcode Community Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. This grant also helped us with Christmas party costs this year.

For more information about the People’s Postcode Lottery you can visit –

More Christmas partying

In the second week of December we partied with 3 more groups …

…with our Monday Friends Meeting House group –…with our Thursday Starbeck group –

Many congratulations to group leader Jann (middle photo on the far right above) who has just got engaged to Nick. She was flashing her lovely engagement ring at us when we sang “five go-old rings” during “The 12 Days of Christmas”!

We’d like to say a big thank you to our very talented Nicola Forshaw who accompanied the carol singing at the Starbeck group on her cello.

…and with our Friday Knaresborough group –

I think the Friday group might have won the prize this year for the most colourful and imaginative Christmas outfits!

Heartfelt thanks go to the amazing Harrogate Harmony Barbershop Singers who were in beautiful voice once again at both the Friends Meeting House and Friday Knaresborough parties.

Christmas 2019 – Party Time!

T’was the first week of December and at our Tuesday Knaresborough and Hampsthwaite group parties the variety of Christmas jumpers, jewellery, hats, headgear and spectacular specs was a wonder to behold! With lots of glitter and sparkle and flashing lights you can see that tastefulness was not our main concern!

We were delighted to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate – Cllr Stuart Martin and his wife April – at the Tuesday group party. They were very happy to join in and show us their dance moves!

We celebrated some special birthdays at both parties with cakes and fireworks. Happy Birthday to Wendy and to Glyn and many happy returns!

After some festive dances the wonderful Harrogate Harmony Barbershop Singers sang beautifully for us, led a sing-and-dance-along and were very funny too!

Marking Remembrance Day 2019

Our attempt at creating a 1940s vibe at some group sessions this week to mark Remembrance Day was hampered by the slipperyness of our chiffon scarves which did not make the best turbans! But we had great fun anyway!

Our new group in Boroughbridge

A big welcome to everyone who came to the first session of our new group at Coronation Hall in Boroughbridge on 30th September 2019! It was a lovely session and we were delighted with how well everyone participated and enjoyed themselves. One very kind member – Margaret – even brought a delicious cake to celebrate the start of the group!

In case you’re wondering – we did quite a bit of dancing before the cake eating!

Happy Birthday Freda!

Everyone at the Tuesday Knaresborough group was delighted to celebrate Freda’s special birthday with her recently. She’s one of our much loved longest-serving members and we wish her a wonderful year and many happy returns.

More memories at the Tuesday Knaresborough group party

Our final summmer party this year was at the Tuesday Knaresborough group and we had an amazing turnout of 29 members! It was wonderful to have some of our members who have been poorly back with us for the party. As you can see we had a lovely array of photos to try to guess who was who and hear stories about – In the photo Elva brought of herself aged 17 she explained she was wearing what her friends called her “come and get me dress” because she always got asked to dance when she wore it! Ann’s photo was from her am-dram days – in costume for her role in the chorus line in Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. At just 5 years old Hilary, whose mother was a hairdresser, looked incredibly a la mode with Marcel Waves in her hair. In Pauline’s photo she was dressed as Mrs Mop from ITMA for a WI 1940s event and she had us all laughing with her “Can I do you now sir?” impersonation!

We had time for a few dances as well of course and shared a lovely tea together – We’d like to thank Graham Archer for taking all these excellent photos.

Sharing memories at the Bilton summer party

Thank you to our Bilton group members and volunteers who brought photos of themselves in younger days for us to enjoy at the summer party. I’m afraid these photos of their photos don’t quite do justice to them! Some of the stories behind them were fascinating though. We saw Babette and her late husband John dressed as Georgians (wigs n’ all) for the Chamber of Trade medieval market in Newark in the 1970s; “hippy chic” Marilyn getting her hair braided at the Glastonbury festival; Jill being introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh at the launch of a large Boots department store in Rochdale where she worked when she was in her 30s; Monika in 1960 in her beautiful wedding dress, which is currently on display at the Pump Room Museum in Harrogate; and Shirley, aged 24, in her Service Club Hostess uniform  helping enlisted men in the US Airforce Burtonwood enjoy a “home from home” in their off-duty time.

We were delighted that Angela Smith – ASDA’s Community Champion – could join us and we’re very grateful to her for organising a donation from ASDA towards the tea party food. We also welcomed NYCC Cllr Geoff Webber and his wife Pat once again. Geoff is continuing to generously support the group by recommending funding from his Locality Budget which is an enormous help and is very much appreciated by all of us.

Partying with the Mayor of Harrogate at The Cuttings

We had great fun with the Mayor of Harrogate – Cllr Stuart Martin MBE – at The Cuttings group summer party this year. He danced every dance with us and said “It was lovely to see the group members enjoying the music, dancing and singing, and I enjoyed their company too. I could feel for myself how beneficial the gentle exercise must be.”Thank you to Harrogate Neighbours Housing Association staff for such a scrumptious tea – you really did us proud!

Some group members – Audrey, Barbara and Malcolm – were able to try on the Mayoral chain of office and were surprised how heavy it was. Unfortunately they did have to give it back!Thank you to Alistair Ratcliffe once again for these wonderful photos.

Sharing memories at the Hampsthwaite summer party

At the Hampsthwaite summer party this year we decided to bring photos of ourselves as a child or “in our prime” and see if we could guess who was who.

Some lovely stories emerged, including Tia in the Brooklyn New York Telegram aboard the Queen Elizabeth on her way to visit her parents in Massachusetts in 1958; Sheila being held upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland; Catherine at about 4 years old posing for her photographer father for an advert for biscuits; Brenda (in 1950) and Norma (in 1963) looking STUNNING on their wedding days; Frank as a small boy on the farm with his dog – “the best ratter he ever had”; Nicola at 26 giving the best performance of her ballet career in La Sylphide in Thessaloniki. 

We did some dancing too (of course!) and were delighted that the Mayor of Pateley Bridge, Cllr Chris Skaife, could join us. She said “It was lovely to see at first-hand what a fantastic opportunity this group is for those that attend. Everyone I spoke with said what a positive effect attending the group has on them and how inspirational it is!” Then we finished with a lovely lunch together.Thank you so much to Alistair Ratcliffe for doing such a great job as our photographer for the session!

Bilton & Woodfield Library Community Day

Thank you Betty Lupton’s Ladle Laikers Morris Dancers for joining us at the Bilton & Woodfield Library Community Day to demonstrate our dances. You were FABULOUS!


Celebrations at our Friday group party

We had a lot to celebrate at the Friday group’s summer party this year. There were 3 birthdays, including a very special one for Elizabeth who we can’t quite believe has turned 90! And we were delighted that the Mayor of Knaresborough, Cllr Christine Willoughby, was able to come. She danced with us, chatted with members over tea and was on the winning team for the light-hearted quiz.  We’d like to say how much we appreciate everything our volunteers – Sandra, Muriel and Angela – did to make the party run so smoothly, and for their support throughout the year. And we must say a special thank you to Muriel who baked cakes, scones and the birthday cake for Elizabeth, which we all enjoyed enormously, and to Angela for putting such a fun brain-teaser of a quiz together.

Summer Party Time!

The weather was Goldilocks – not too hot, not too cold – for the Monday group’s summer party this year and we had a fantastic turnout of 29 members. It was  a bit of a squash on the dance floor at the Friends Meeting House but somehow we managed!If you’re wondering what the Usain Bolt-style outstretched arms are all about, we’re balancing on our surf boards to “Under the Boardwalk”. Of course, it’s obvious isn’t it?!?

Heartfelt thanks go to our entertainers – the Harrogate Spa Town Ukes for some great songs we loved singing along to, and little Fraser, whose delight at the music and being with us was a joy to behold; and also to our excellent volunteers who did so much to help the party run smoothly.

And finally, we must say special thank yous to our volunteer Pam, who did really beautiful flower arrangements for the tables, and to our volunteer Valerie for the table favours; you can see the purple & white spotty bags on a couple of plates in this photo – they were filled with little heart-shaped shortbread biscuits she’d baked for us.

90 years young!

The Hampsthwaite group wish Margaret a very happy 90th birthday and many returns. Keep smiling and keeeeeeep dancing Margaret!

If you can’t go to Hawaii, we’ll bring Hawaii to you!

Big Birthday Double at the Monday group

Wishing very happy special birthdays and many happy returns to Bob and Kate – two of our longest-serving and much-loved Monday group members !


Celebrating Doreen’s special birthday

It was Doreen’s turn for a special birthday celebration at our Hampsthwaite group recently. She was slightly reluctant to admit her age so we agreed 21 (again) would do fine! We wish you many happy returns Doreen!


Doing the Haka at the Friday Knaresborough group

We had a very liberating and empowering experience at our Knaresborough Friday group this week! Vicki and Julia from Untold Dance Theatre  visited the group and led us in a variation of the Haka – the ceremonial Maori dance performed by New Zealand Rugby players to intimidate their opponents.

The Bristol based intergenerational Untold Dance Theatre Company were in Harrogate to perform their Arts Council England supported tour of “Women-Wise” at Harrogate Theatre. While they were up here they were offering sessions to community groups as part of a project to explore the benefits of moving together for women’s confidence and well-being. When we asked members and volunteers at our Knaresborough groups  if they’d like to take up this offer they said yes!

Unsurprisingly none of us had done the Haka before. But we gave it our all! Even the loud chanting and sticking out and wiggling your tongue bits! These photos don’t quite do justice to our efforts but you can see how much fun we had!

Thank you so much Vicki and Julia for your time and expertise, and for giving us such a unique experience we’ll never forget!

Our youngest volunteer turns 1 !

Our Monday group at the Friends Meeting House likes its volunteers to start young – very young! It was such fun celebrating Fraser’s first birthday with him this week. A “batting about the balloon” game suited the occasion perfectly. After 3 loud bangs from bursting balloons Fraser did shed a brief tear but was soon comforted by his Mum, Elizabeth, who also volunteers with the group.

We’ve all so enjoyed time with Fraser – from when he was just a bump under his Mum’s jumper, to when he was a tiny sleepy new-born, and to now as a very nearly walking toddler with a huge enchanting smile, on a mission to grab the bluetooth speaker and investigate under the grand piano in the room where we dance. He brings us such joy!


We’ve had some wonderful Christmas parties this year at our Dancing for Well-Being groups. We had visits from several angels – No expense was spared on tasteful Christmas jumpers and headgear!Our dancing was energetic, vibrant and beautiful !We conga’d the calories off !We sang, laughed, enjoyed a cracker and a mince pie or two… And we celebrated Zena’s big birthday with her at the Friday group’s party – Happy Birthday Zena!

Many many thanks to all the members who came along to take part and to all our brilliant volunteers who worked so hard to make everything go smoothly. And finally, to the fanstastic Harrogate Spa Town Ukes who never fail us – WE LOVE YOU!

Happy Birthday Ian!

The Friends Meeting House group were delighted to celebrate Ian’s special birthday with him recently. He generously brought in a HUGE chocolate cake for us all to share and we did our best to not set fire to it!

We wish you a wonderful year and many happy returns Ian!

Darcey Bussell – Dancing to Happiness

I’ve just watched this incredible progamme on BBC 2 –

It shows how amazing dancing can be for anyone and everyone, no matter what your age is or what physical and mental health problems you are coping with. It lifts you, makes you feel alive, gives you so much pleasure. And sharing that pleasure with others in a class or group just has to be one of the most joyful things we ever experience!

Magic Little Grant

We are delighted to be the recipients of a Magic Little Grant through a partnership between Localgiving and the Postcode Community Trust. The Postcode Community Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. The grant of £500 will help towards venue costs for our two Knaresborough groups.

For more information about the Postcode Community Trust you can visit –

For more information about the People’s Postcode Lottery you can visit –


Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Awards for All we are about to launch a new Dancing for Well-Being group in Starbeck. The group will be meeting from 2.00 to 3.30 p.m. every Thursday and starts on the 22nd November 2018. It’s based at a brand new extra care housing complex called The Cuttings in Station View, Starbeck.

The Cuttings is run by the award-winning Harrogate Neighbours Housing Association – It’s absolutely state of the art and beautiful! Jann and I were recently given a tour round and then we invited a few residents to join in with a spot of dancing. Jann (pictured second from left below) recently joined our Dancing for Well-Being team and is going to be the main leader of this new group, with another new member of our team – Sarah – assisting her.

As you can see below we have a lovely big space in the dining room to dance in. The group is open to older people who live in the community as well as to residents of The Cuttings. We just can’t wait to fill all these chairs and get dancing……!


Happy Birthday Muriel !

We were delighted to be able to celebrate another big birthday at the Friday group recently. One of our lovely volunteers, Muriel, who does so much to help with the smooth running and friendliness of the group, has just turned 80. None of us could quite believe it – she’s such a fit and active lady! We wish you many happy returns Muriel!

Thank you

Thank you SOOO much to all the DWB members, volunteers and staff who were incredibly generous and went to a lot of trouble to make my big birthday this week really special. I was totally spoiled with cards, flowers, cakes, chocolates and other lovely gifts – many of which are in the photos below. Those that aren’t have been consumed already and the diet starts next week!

Pat – we are nominating you for the Great British Bake Off next Year!

Celebrating Margaret’s special birthday

Margaret, a very popular member of the Friday group in Knaresborough, loves a bit of Elvis, so for her special birthday we danced to  “I can’t help falling in love with you”. We all wish you a very happy birthday, Margaret, and a wonderful year ahead!!

Fun and games with ribbonsticks in Darley

For just over a year now we’ve been working with the charity Carers’ Resource to run a monthly session at the Christchurch Community Centre in Darley for carers and the people they support. At our August session we had a great time warming up with some colourful ribbonsticks to the most beautiful music – The Tales of Hoffmann: Barcarolle, sung by All Angels.

As you can see everyone did incredibly well; even though the ribbons are 4 metres long and there were 17 of us twirling away we managed to keep tangle-free!

Happy Birthday Frank !

The Hampsthwaite group wanted to celebrate Frank’s big birthday with him and his wife Doreen who have been regular members of the group for 2 years now. We all sang the usual polite and slightly less polite (!) happy birthday songs and wished him many happy returns.

“Dancing despite Heatwave” – article in Knaresborough Post (2.8.18)

Partying at the Knaresborough Friday group

Our final summer party this year was at the Friday Knaresborough group and we were particularly delighted that some members who have not been well recently made a special effort to come. The temperature had dropped a degree or so and we were able to summon up the energy for some pretty lively dancing as you can see –

We were so pleased that Alistair Ratcliffe from the Rotary Club of Harrogate was able to take photos for us again. He has captured the spirit of the group and the fun and friendship we share together just perfectly. Thank you Alistair – you’ve done a brillant job!

We are really grateful to our invaluable Friday group volunteers – Angela, Sandra and Muriel – who organised our lovely tea, as well as doing 101 other things of course! Despite being somewhat reluctant to have attention drawn to them we managed to persuade them to pose for a great photo –

The Spa Town Ukes excelled themselves again. We loved their new numbers, especially The Proclaimers’ ” I will walk 500 miles” which was great to sing and dance along to. The band came to all our summer parties this year and were simply sensational! We send you our heartfelt thanks and will be in touch again soon about Christmas if that’s ok?!?!

Celebrating Maureen’s big birthday

The Friday Knaresborough group recently celebrated the lovely Maureen’s big birthday with her. Maureen joined the group in April 2017, she’s always ready to dance, chat and have fun, and is a much valued member of the group.

DWB at Woodfield Community Day

This year the weather was perfect for our demo at the Woodfield Community Day in the car park of the library. Thank you so much to all the Bilton group members, and volunteer Fiona, who came along. Several members of the public joined in enthusiastically too which was much appreciated.

Thank you to Angela from the Harrogate & Ripon Councils for Voluntary Service for this lovely photo.

Bilton Group’s Bumper-Sized Party

We were delighted that 30 members made it to the Bilton group summer party on the 11th July, and that two much valued DWB supporters – NYCC Cllr Geoff Webber and his wife Pat – were able to join us. The room somehow seemed to expand to cope with the numbers! Margaret introduced her new brain and co-ordination-testing dance to “Bend it” by Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, which caused a lot of laughter, then led us in a raucous singalong with actions to “I’m forever blowing bubbles”.

The fun continued throughout tea when the fabulous Spa Town Ukes entertained us with some new numbers and some old favourites, which no-one could sit still to.

Happy Birthday Elva!

Elva joined the Tuesday Knaresborough group at its very beginning in June 2015 and rarely misses a session. She’s always so warm and friendly with everyone and is such a great asset to the group. When I asked her if she’d like to celebrate her big birthday with us and we discussed how old she actually felt she said “about 18”. So Happy 18th birthday Elva! And many returns!

Tuesday Group’s (Garden) Party

Another glorious day dawned for the Tuesday group’s summer party on the 3rd July. We were able to open the folding doors in the Derwent Room at the Chain Lane Community Hub to get  a breeze and the lovely patio and garden backdrop made it feel like a garden party. The Spa Town Ukes were on form again and got members dancing in and out of their seats.

Our 3 wonderful volunteers – Lynne, Pat and Jane  (bottom right photo) – worked really hard organsing and serving our lovely tea, yet still managed to look happy and relaxed for this after-party-tidy-up photo!

Partying at the Friends Meeting House

Monday 25th June was one of the hottest days this summer but it didn’t stop members of the Friends Meeting House group having a wonderful party. We didn’t want to get too hot and pass out so we had lots of water breaks, a fun game to help us remember each others’ names, and “Dancing for Well-Being” became “Not moving too much for Well-Being”.  Not that you can tell from these lively photos which Penny, the daughter of one our members took – thank you so much Penny!

After the dancing / not moving too much, we had a lovely tea. As you can see below volunteer Elizabeth’s son Fraser (now almost 5 months’ old and sooo cute) was mesmerised by the Spa Town Ukes who did a fantastic turn for us!

In case you’re wondering ….. the dog, cat and yes, it’s a goldfish, that Kate is holding (top right corner photo)  are all connected to this tongue-twister song and dance we do to Offenbach’s Can Can –

“My Dog he can do the can-can better than my cat can but my goldfish finds it very difficult. My dog he can do the can-can better than my cat can but my goldfish finds it very hard.

He finds it very very very very hard, he finds it very very very very hard, so very hard, so very hard, so very hard, so very hard, HARD HARD HARD!!!!”

Summer has arrived!

It’s time for our groups to celebrate the arrival of summer and our Hampsthwaite group got the party season underway in style on the 13th June.  After some delicious home-baked scones provided by our wonderful volunteers some of us had enough energy to bop and jive to a brilliant programme of golden oldies provided by the Spa Town Ukes. Keith and Frances – you rock!

First Aid Training for Volunteers

Thanks to the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, and in particular Don Buxton, we’ve just had an excellent workshop on CPR, how to use a defibrillator, putting an unconscious person into the recovery position and how to help someone who is choking. We all hope we’re never going to have to use these skills, either in daily life or when we’re in Dancing for Well-Being sessions, but it’s great to have them just in case.

New Chairs for the Hampsthwaite Group

In recent months we’ve been working with the Hampsthwaite Memorial Hall Committee to secure funding for new chairs which are more appropriate for Dancing for Well-Being sessions. And we’re very pleased to say the funding was awarded from the Knabs Ridge Wind Farm Community Fund via the Two Ridings Community Foundation and we now have some lovely new chairs.

The chairs make it easier for many more of our Hampsthwaite group members to stand for certain dances because they’re sturdy enough and tall enough to hold on to for support, as you can see in the photo below. Being able to stand to dance will help members improve their balance and help prevent falls. We are delighted with the chairs and really grateful to everyone who has helped us get them.

Bilton Quiz Team Winners

We won the cup, I say we won the cup!! Yes that’s right, a team from our Bilton DWB group won the much-coveted knitted (!) cup at the Bilton Community Centre Quiz night on 14th April.

Many thanks and congratulations to (from left to right) Jean, Fiona, Brenda and Shirley.  We’d also like to thank 2 more members of this sharp-witted team – Fiona’s sister and brother-in-law Monica and Maurice who couldn’t be with us for the photo.

90 Years Young

We had a lovely time at the Hampsthwaite group recently celebrating Joan’s special birthday with her. When you’re 90 years’ young you need an impressive candle and we certainly had one!


You may not have heard of twiddlemuffs before. They’re knitted muffs with items attached which a person with dementia can twiddle with their fingers. It might sound funny, but they can actually be a godsend for some people with dementia, helping to quieten the mind and provide comfort and distraction. If they have restless hands this is something to keep their hands occupied. Twiddlesmuffs provide a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation, and are snug and warm.

When Pat – one of our volunteers at the Tuesday Knareborough group – heard about twiddlemuffs she decided to have a go at making them and got several of our members involved too. As a result we were able to deliver these beautifully colourful twiddlemuffs  to Amanda at Dementia Forward at their Hub in Burton Leonard this week. Amanda asked us to pass on a big thank you to all of you fantastic knitters!

Easter Fun

Thank you to all our talented Easter Bonnet makers/wearers and Easter Bunnies  for bringing lots of fun to our groups this week!

NYCC Support for the Bilton Group

When NYCC Cllr Geoff Webber came with his wife, Pat, to the Bilton group’s Christmas party he was so impressed that he recommended DWB should receive a grant towards the costs of the group from the NYCC locality budgets. Thank you Geoff – your support is very much appreciated!

Happy Birthday Jacqui

At our first session back after an enforced snow break (!) at the end of February it was lovely for the Bilton group to be able to celebrate Jacqui’s big birthday with her.

Don’t look so worried Jacqui (on the right) – we have a fireman standing by!

Welcoming our youngest member yet!

We were delighted to welcome Fraser to the Monday DWB group at the Friends Meeting House in Harrogate yesterday (19th February 2018). At just over 2 weeks old he didn’t have much to say for himself but at one point we heard the softest little snore ever – bless him!

Our lovely volunteer Elizabeth and her husband Ian couldn’t be more proud of their new son, and everyone at the Monday group was so pleased they’d been able to bring him in for a visit.

Christmas Party Fun!

The Christmas parties this year were the best yet! Despite the busy time of year, some illness and some weather issues a total of 108 members came to the parties, and if you add in staff, volunteers and guests the figure came to 140! So before we get to the photos and stories from each group’s Christmas party we must say a big thank you to everyone who came along and contributed to the lovely time we had together. We’d also like to say an extra special thank you to the Knaresborough Lions. At each party the dancing was followed by either lunch or tea and they very generously provided the funding for these.

Our first party on the 12th December was HUGE!! We brought the Tuesday and Friday Knaresborough groups together and squeezed 3 circles of 45 dancers into the Derwent Room at the Chain Lane Community Hub – the most we’ve ever had in there!We couldn’t let Pauline’s and Sarah’s big birthdays go by without a cake and sparkler candle (or two) –

Margaret’s husband, Paul, did a great job as our DJ for the afternoon, entering into the spirit in an amazing Christmas jumper! And we were delighted to welcome NYCC Cllr Nicola Wilson, who came along to find out more about what we do, and joined in with great enthusiasm –

On the 13th December it was the Hampsthwaite group’s turn to party –We were thrilled to have the Spa Town Ukes with us again. This brilliant band (see below) came to 3 of our parties, including the Hampsthwaite one, and as you can see (above – bottom right) we couldn’t resist dancing and singing along.We’d like to thank Rachel – one of the Friends Meeting House group volunteers – who came along to help out and take these photos for us.

The Friends Meeting House group party was on the 18th December and we had a fantastic turnout of 25 members. In the past few months this group has grown considerably and we’ve been delighted with the warm and friendly atmosphere at our sessions. Recently several of our members have not been well or have been recovering from operations and we were so pleased that virtually all of them were able to come to the party.Keen amateur photographer Alistair Ratcliffe from the Rotary Club of Harrogate was kind enough to come and take these photos, and as you can see he did a brilliant job!

We’d all like to say many, many thanks to our volunteer Beryl (second bottom from left wearing a much-deserved halo!) for playing carols and Christmas tunes while we had our tea; and also to 2 of the Hampsthwaite group volunteers – Pauline and Pam – who came along to help out that afternoon.

And finally on the 20th December – the Bilton group party –You can just about glimpse NYCC Cllr Geoff Webber and his wife Pat in the outer circle of the top right photo. We were delighted they could come and they clearly enjoyed meeting our members and joining in with the dancing.

As the photos of all the parties show, a lot of effort was made with Christmas jumpers, headgear, earrings, angel wings, halos, etc., but at the Bilton party John and Margaret took it to another level !! –

And finally finally, Margaret and I want to give our heart-felt thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who have helped and supported us, not just with the parties, but throughout 2017. Your help with practical tasks is of course much appreciated but you play an absolutely vital part in the warmth, friendship and laughter we have in all our groups – we simply couldn’t do what we do without you.

More BIG Birthdays

Congratulations to the Tuesday Knaresborough group’s Diana (left) and the Friends Meeting House group’s Margaret (right) on reaching some big round numbers!

Friday group in the Knaresborough Post

Knaresborough Friday Group’s First Anniversary

We can hardly believe it’s a year since we started the Knaresborough Friday group – the time has simply flown by. At our first session on the 4th November 2016 we had a small and select group of 6 members. Now look at us – a year later we were delighted to have a much larger group of 18 members and 3 volunteers to celebrate with.

It’s not just about numbers of course. The important thing is if members enjoy what we do and feel they benefit from coming. We asked them how they felt about the group and were delighted with their comments –

“We always have a great time,  a good laugh, exercise and fellowship.” Mavis

“It is really nice to meet every week. The company is excellent and my stiffness is so improved.” Emma

“Great friendship. (Am) full of aches and pains but definitely makes me feel better.” Lorna

“Great company, great exercise, lovely music. Definitely helped after a hip replacement.” Jean

“It’s fun and Margaret is a fabulous teacher. And the social side is great – everyone is so friendly.” Angela

“What a happy lot we are!” Emma

Wishing Mavis a VERY Happy Birthday!

As Mavis – a regular and very popular member of both the Tuesday and Friday Knaresborough groups – is about to turn ???  (well let’s just say it’s a nice round number), we all wanted to celebrate with her and wish her all the best.

Celebrating Norah’s big birthday!

We’re not saying how old she is (somewhere between a bus pass and a card from the Queen is all we’re allowed to say!), but the lovely Norah, who is a member of our Monday group at the Friends Meeting House, was old enough to deserve a cake, a firework candle and our very good wishes when she had a birthday recently.

After a slice of birthday cake and some of the yummy chocolates Norah generously brought to share with us we all felt we needed to start the session again to work the calories off!

School friends reunited…

Great article in the Harrogate Advertiser today (3rd August 2017) about Joyce and Babette who were classmates at the same school from 1945 to 1949 and were reunited 67 years later at the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group…


And finally, our Monday group’s party….

Our Monday group recently relocated to the Friends Meeting House on Queen Parade close to the centre of Harrogate and we’ve all settled in very well there. The room we dance in has a grand piano in it just begging to be played; and we just happen to have a volunteer – Beryl Pankhurst – who is a professional pianist, so our summer party on 24th July was the ideal opportunity to put the two of them together! After a really good knees-up, Beryl led us in a wonderful singalong while we shared an excellent tea together with all the lovely food our members brought. 

Thank you Beryl!

Bilton group’s turn to party!

We had an excellent turn out for the Bilton summer party on Wednesday 19th July despite the dark sky and threats of thunder.  After some great dancing we were treated to a wonderful medley of songs by the Harrogate Spa Town Ukes, who are fast becoming our very own house band!

Many thanks to volunteer Fiona for some great photos!

What’s new pussy cat?

A big thank you to the Bilton group members who came along to dance with me at the Bilton & Woodfield Library Community Day yesterday – 15th July. We had a lovely time and were delighted when several onlookers, including Anne Jones, the Mayor of Harrogate, and Frances Elliot from the Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) joined in.

Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy and rainy so we stayed indoors as we 3 pussy cats didn’t want to get our fur wet!

We’re not done partying yet!

It was the Tuesday Knaresborough group’s turn for a party on 27th June and we certainly didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits. The Harrogate Spa Town Ukes serenaded us once again and we sang (and some of us couldn’t resist dancing too) with gusto to Delilah, Bring me Sunshine and various Beatles and Elvis numbers.Raffle prizes for the party were generously donated by Harlow Carr Gardens, The Academy, the Marigold Cafe in Knaresborough and Farrahs. They were very much appreciated by the lucky winners!

We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to the husband of one of our members – Graham Archer – for spending the afternoon with us and taking these AMAZING photos. He managed to capture the spirit perfectly!


Knaresborough Friday group’s summer party

A good time was had by all at the Knaresborough Friday group party on 23rd June. We were delighted to welcome the Woolpack Concert Band from Otley, some of whose members were brave enough to join in the dancing before playing for us while we enjoyed our tea. They played some great tunes and we just couldn’t resist singing along. We were also treated to some performances from members – Doreen who impressed us on tamborene and Margaret who showed us some line dancing moves.

We would like to thank Bettys & Taylors and Harrogate Theatre for donating some lovely raffle prizes.

Doreen’s Birthday celebration

The Knaresborough Friday group recently celebrated a big birthday of one it’s very popular members  – Doreen Blackwood. We’re not telling how big. As you can see she barely looks like she’s got to 50 yet! Many happy returns Doreen!

Hampsthwaite group’s summer party

After a few dull and rainy days the sun came out and the temperature hit the mid twenties yesterday – 14th June – just in time for the Hampsthwaite group’s summer party. We danced, we ate a wonderful “bring and share” lunch contributed by members and volunteers and we were entertained by the amazing Harrogate Spa Town Ukes. We also enjoyed a raffle, thanks to some prizes very generously donated by local businesses – the Joiners Arms, Sophie’s Coffee Shop & Bistro, Hampsthwaite Hair & Beauty and Hoopers.

In case you’re wondering…. Carol, Thelma and Frances were enjoying a Hawaiin moment while dancing to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and the photo of the whole group with the stretchy elastics shows us in the final moments of dancing the Can Can.


Creative Movement with Nicola

We would like to say a huge thank you to the Knaresborough Lions who recently awarded Dancing for Well-Being a grant to hold some creative movement taster sessions for members and volunteers.

The first one was held at Chain Lane Community Hub in Knaresborough on Saturday 3rd June and we were delighted to have 25 participants, including members and volunteers from all 5 of our groups, 2 staff members and the facilitator – Nicola Forshaw. Nicola is the Head of Dance at York St John University. She trained in ballet and contemporary dance, is experienced in teaching dance in community settings and is particularly interested in engaging people in dance activities for social change and well-being.

One of our Monday group volunteers – Elizabeth – took some great photos.

We had great fun with various colourful props, and in small teams managed to create our own choreographies which were just beautiful! Pretty impressive considering it was the first time many of us had done anything like that!

The Scarves Team

The Ribbons Team

The Hoola Hoops Team

Our efforts were rewarded with a lovely tea which finished off the afternoon perfectly!

Putting on our Easter Bonnets

We celebrated Easter in style at all our groups this week with seasonal music and dances – Easter Bonnet, Tulips from Amsterdam, Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run, Run Run, and Tiptoe through the Tulips. There were also a few actual Easter bonnets, rabbits’ ears, and LOTS of chocolate easter eggs. We danced with plenty of welly to wear off all the calories!

Thank you to everyone who put so much effort into the celebrations with headgear, cake and easter egg contributions.

Bilton volunteer Liz’ chocolate bunny offering gave us lots of fun as you can see from  Dorothy’s great photo of Rachel and Pat  –

Celebrating Val’s 80th

Our most shy and retiring (NOT!) Hampsthwaite group member turned 80 this week (24th March) and we couldn’t let the moment pass without some cards, cake, fireworks and a tuneful (??) rendition of Happy Birthday. Many happy returns Val!

Come and Join us at the St Roberts Centre Group

Thank you to the members and volunteers of our Monday afternoon St Robert’s Centre DWB group who have overcome their camera-shyness in a bid to encourage more people to come and join their group!

A volunteer’s story

One of our Bilton group volunteers – Dorothy Hawkins – has been featured in the Harrogate Advertiser today (9th March 2017) talking about how she came to join Dancing for Well-Being and how much both members and volunteers enjoy and benefit from taking part.

As the article says – “Many thanks to Dorothy, both for being and for sharing her experience as a volunteer ” with us. Many thanks also to Karen Weaver from the Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service for making us the focus of her regular column.

A feature in the Yorkshire Post

Thank you to the Yorkshire Post for giving Dancing for Well-Being as an example of the kind of activity that improves well-being in later life. The article in today’s Yorkshire Post (page 3, 8th February 2017) refers to a study published by Age UK and the University of Southampton, involving 15,000 people aged 60 or over, which shows that, alongside other factors, exercise like dancing contributes to being healthy and happy when people get older.


The last couple of weeks have been PARTY, PARTY, PARTY at all the Dancing for Well-Being groups. You’ve never seen so many different Christmas jumpers, head-gear, earrings and brooches! We had a BRILLIANT time!

We owe some big thank yous to Arthritis Care Harrogate for the food for the party teas and to our lovely volunteers for all their hard work to make the parties go with a swing.

Happy times…..

xmas-16-agSome of the golden girls at Apley Grange

xmas-16-clch-tues-collage-2 At the Tuesday Chain Lane Community Hub group Kathie gave us all a laugh when she put on her Christmas pudding hat!

xmas-16-hamp-collageAt Hampsthwaite we also celebrated several birthdays – Ada’s, Freda’s, Keith’s, Noelle’s and Carol’s. And Pauline’s Chrismas tree jumper lit up the room!

xmas-16-bilton-collageThe Bilton party was packed! We had a great turn-out and a number of Arthritis Care Harrogate members joined us after the dancing for tea. A HUGE thank you goes to Brenda for her beautiful cake!

xmas-16-clch-fri-collage-2The new Friday Chain Lane Community Hub group is still quite small but the Christmas spirit was HUGE! We all loved Anne’s ensemble – particularly the Christmas pudding sunglasses! And thank you Santa for dropping by!

Flying High

To commemorate Remembrance Day this month the Knaresborough Tuesday group did a warm-up to a medley of war-time songs and danced to Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. Thanks to the camera skills of our volunteer Pat here’s a wonderful photo of Emily as pilot and Sheila as co-pilot flying high –


Nice article in the Knaresborough Post

Good publicity for our new Friday group at the Chain Lane Community Hub in Knaresborough , which starts on 4th November –


Dancing for Well-Being Community Interest Company

REALLY EXCITING news! On 28th September 2016 Dancing for Well-Being became a social enterprise in the form of a Community Interest Company (CIC) – a company whose activities are undertaken for the benefit of the community.

About 6 months ago we started thinking about going down this route because the organisation felt quite precarious with just one person – Jackie Terry – leading the groups. We needed to make the existing groups sustainable, keep developing our skills and increase our capacity to run more groups and offer more services.

As a CIC we’re now able to apply to funders for grants to help us achieve these things. Funding will also help us keep our charges to members as reasonable as possible and try to ensure anyone who would benefit can join us.

We are working towards having more people in addition to Jackie who can run DWB groups. The group leaders will be able to cover for each other, develop new ideas and, together with our excellent volunteers, support each other to ensure the groups thrive and our work grows.

Jackie has been appointed as a Director and is being joined by two more Directors – Christine Boxall and Dorothy Hawkins – both of whom have been DWB supporters and volunteers for some time. More information about them and their responsibilities as Directors will be included on this website shortly.

There are many people and organisations to thank for their moral and financial support in helping us to reach this position; in particular – Liz Meade at North Yorkshire County Council, Lindsay Mitchell and Nanci Downey at Arthritis Care Harrogate, Sue Vasey, Simon Watterson and Lee Steel at Your Consortium, Natalie Smith at Harrogate Borough Council, and Nina Muir and Mark Hopley at the Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service.

None of this would have happened, though, without the enthusiasm and support of our members and volunteers. The joy and magic of the music and dancing comes from how we connect with each other. At every session we all bring our personalities, our humour and our willingness to let go and have fun together. Long may this continue!

Dancing with the Knaresborough WI

knaresb-wi-collagePhotos of a FABULOUS session with members of the Knaresborough Women’s Institute on Thursday 15th September! Thank you for your warm welcome ladies and a scrumptious lunch after our exertions.

Keith and Joan’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

At the Hampsthwaite group  on 3rd August 2016 we celebrated Keith and Joan Branford-White’s golden wedding anniversary with dances to love songs like Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Chanson D’Amour. They were married on the 30th July 1966 – a day made even more memorable as it was the day England won the World Cup!

Hamp K&J 50th Anniv cheersjpg

Keith and Joan, who live in Pateley Bridge, started coming to the Hampsthwaite Dancing for Well-Being (DWB) group 2 years ago and have been regulars ever since. They always loved dancing together – mostly ballroom and sequence dancing – but were finding this more difficult when Keith’s balance was affected by Parkinson’s Disease. They enjoy DWB because the dancing can be done sitting as well as standing. Keith is a poet and has made CDs of his poems and raised money in aid of the Harrogate & District Parkinson’s UK Group. He wrote a beautiful one to celebrate their 50th anniversary –

Keith's 50th anniv poem

Woodfield Community Day

Woodfield Comm Day Collage

A big THANK YOU you to all the Bilton group members and volunteers who joined me to demonstrate Dancing for Well-Being at the Woodfield Community Day on 16th July. The weather was fine, if a bit blowy, and we were able to dance outside. As you can see from the photos above we roped in some of Betty Lupton’s Ladle Lakers  Morris Dancers and a couple of policemen, who really put their all into it.

We had even more participants for “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts”. Many thanks go to Karen Weaver from HARCVS for taking a short video of this and then tweeting about it. To see the video just click on the link after @NYorksPolice below –

. being “with your neighbour” as Jackie says open day, excellent moves by

Knaresborough DWB group’s first anniversary party

The Knaresborough DWB group started with just 5 members in June 2015. It now has over 30 registered members and a regular weekly attendance of over 20 members. So we had every reason to celebrate our first anniversary at a party together on 28th June. Bill Rigby and Shan Oakes, Mayor and Mayoress of Knaresborough and Liz Meade, NYCC’s Stronger Communities Manager for Harrogate, kindly accepted our invitation and joined in the dancing like they were pros!

The members provided a very generous “bring and share tea” which we enjoyed whilst singing along to classics like Ain’t She Sweet, Blueberry Hill and Shake Rattle and Roll with the Harrogate Spa Town Ukes. A great afternoon was had by all, as you can see from the videos (thank you Lynne!) and photos (thank you Margaret!) below…

CLCH anniv party collage 3

I am very grateful to NYCC Stronger Communities for supporting the group in its first year through the Try It Fund. We wouldn’t have been able to start the group without this.

And to our lovely volunteers – Jane and Lynne – I must say a huge thank you for everything they do to support the members and me.  Both of them, together with many of the members, have been fantastic ambassadors for the group – encouraging friends and neighbours to come and give DWB a try. They have done a brilliant job of welcoming newcomers, helping them to feel they belong from day one. The result of their efforts is that the group is now full and we’ve had to set up a waiting list.

We’re now very much looking forward to an exciting second year!

The Mayor visits Bilton DWB group

We were delighted to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Nigel and Lynn Simms, to the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group on Wednesday 11th May. The Mayor’s term of office ends later this month so we felt very lucky that they were able to fit us into their busy schedule. They joined in every dance and were great fun, as this photo of them dancing with Pat and Myra to “Istanbul not Constantinople” shows –


Stray FM Interview

As part of the publicity for the first anniversary of the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group I was asked to record an interview with Patrick Dunlop on Stray FM Extra’s show on Sundays called Your County. I must say I felt a bit nervous about doing this by myself so I asked Barbara Scaife and Lena Sturdy  if they’d like to join me. They’ve both been with the group from day one and hardly ever missed a session. They were rather apprehensive but wanted to support me so kindly agreed to come along.

The three of us were squeezed into a tiny recording studio with one large microphone to talk into (I wish I’d taken a photo!) and I don’t think Patrick knew what hit him! At the start I was the hesitant one with rather too many errs and umms. But Lena and Barbara were just naturals! And once we got into our stride there was no stopping us.

Our interview featured in the Your County show on Sunday 3rd April. If you’ve got 8 minutes to spare please have a listen:


Celebrating the Bilton group’s first anniversary

It’s been a brilliant first year for the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group! We started up on the 25th March 2015 and have had a lot of fun together, as you can see from previous entries on this News page. There are currently 26 registered members and you couldn’t wish for a more friendly and supportive group of people.

What members say about the group:

Pat Gallagher – “It’s a tonic. Even on a miserable day there is laughter. Music – excellent, exercise – brilliant. Just what the doctor ordered. Jackie is a very caring happy person.”

Rachel Gill – “A great crowd of happy people. Love it. The highlight of my week”.

Joyce O’Connor – “Such happy friendly people. Best laugh of the week – wonderful. Look so forward to Wednesdays.”

The photos below show us dancing and enjoying a lovely “bring and share” tea at our anniversary party on the 6th April. One of our members, Brenda Rider, made a beautiful cake which looked and tasted AMAZING!  And it wasn’t just the group’s birthday – Joyce O’Connor was a day away from hers, so our volunteers, Dorothy Hawkins and Lynda Clough, brought her a cake and some flowers. We were very pleased to be joined by Richard Webb and Liz Meade from North Yorkshire County Council and Natalie Smith from Harrogate Borough Council who rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in – even helping with the washing up! We’ll definitely be inviting them again!

Bilton party photo-montage(1)

Dancing for Well-Being – working across the generations!

I always thought Dancing for Well-Being would appeal to all ages. But at the Bilton group’s first anniversary party on Wednesday 6th April this was put to the test. We were joined by Aidan, the 9-month old son of Merewyne Snowden-Youde, Harrogate Arthritis Care’s Social Media volunteer who kindly came along to take photos. He was an absolute darling – smiling and enjoying the music and grabbing the velvet elastic to dance the Can-Can with us as you can see below:

IMG_3583Bless him!

More photos of the Bilton party will follow shortly.

Happy Birthday Emily

102 years young!!

She’s an absolute inspiration to us all! Emily joined the Knaresborough Dancing for Well-Being group in September last year and we were delighted to celebrate her 102nd birthday with her today – 16th February 2016. We sang happy birthday of course and gave her 3 cheers. When she asked for the bumps we said we’d worn ourselves out dancing but promised to do them next year!

CLCH Emily's b'dayCLCH Emily & cake

The card we gave Emily says “Anyone can be cool but totally awesome takes practice!”

Dancing with the Harrogate Over 50s Forum

I was very pleased to be invited to showcase Dancing for Well-Being at a meeting of the Harrogate & District Over 50s Forum last Thursday (21st January) at St Paul’s Church on Victoria Avenue. There must have been between 40 and 50 people there and we had an absolutely BRILLIANT time!

Over 50s Forum - pompoms

The Forum was originally set up by Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service and is now run by committee members. It meets regularly to discuss local and national issues which impact on the lives of people aged 50 plus and when appropriate represent their views. See The theme for this meeting was how to stay as fit and healthy as possible in later life.

I thought some people would just want to watch, so we set up a dancing circle of chairs in the centre of the room and put other chairs around the outside. But no, everyone joined in with great enthusiasm from wherever they were sitting. A number of people came up to me at the end to ask for more information about joining a Dancing for Well-Being group themselves and took leaflets to pass on to friends as well. So all in all it was a most enjoyable and rewarding afternoon!

Christmas Parties !!!

The last couple of weeks have been filled with Christmas party sessions at all my weekly and monthly groups. We’ve had a great time dancing and singing to all the Christmas numbers, like Mistletoe and Wine, All I Want for Christmas is You, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Twelve Days of Christmas (with appropriate actions of course!), to name a few.

I’m afraid I only remembered to bring my camera to the Knaresborough group’s party, so I do apologise to the other groups for failing to embarrass them as well!

Knaresb Christmas 2015 - group

Just as we started to dance to Santa Claus is Coming to Town guess who popped in with sweets for everyone?

Knaresb Christmas 2015 - Santa1Knaresb Christmas 2015 - Santa2

Some members really excelled themselves with Christmas hats, jumpers and jewellery. Sheila’s HO HO HO jumper even sang Jingle Bells!! (Thanks to Margaret’s husband John for this super photo!)

Knares Christmas 2015 - Xmas girls

And finally, I thought Wendy in her wonderfully festive headgear deserved a solo photo –

Knares Christmas 2015 - Wendy

Hands across the Irish Sea

A large group of members from the Ballymoney Arthritis Care Branch in Northern Ireland were planning a short holiday in Harrogate in early October. They decided to contact the Harrogate Branch of Arthritis Care (which supports the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group) to see if it was possible to arrange a get-together. And to be sure it was!

No visit to Harrogate is complete without a visit to Bettys of course. So after a wonderful lunch in Bettys’ Imperial Room the Ballymoney Branch members joined the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group to try to work off some calories and have some fun. We had an absoloutely hilarious afternoon together!!

DWB Ballymoney visit


Celebrating UN International Day of Older People with MAECare

It was the United Nations International Day of Older People on 1st October and I was very pleased to be invited by Moor Allerton Elderly Care in Leeds to lead a Dancing for Well-Being session with their members.

The room was packed out and MAECare members were great fun to dance with. We had a lovely morning together.

MAECare 1-Oct-15

Dancing for Well-Being featured in Harrogate Advertiser 

There’s a sizable article about Dancing for Well-Being, with lots of photos too, in today’s Harrogate Advertiser (1st October). Great publicity, just exactly what we need. I’m sure it will encourage more people to come and give us a try. 

Hgte Advtiser 1st Oct 2015

Article in The Guardian on 30th August about how great dancing is for older people

Brilliant article in The Guardian yesterday about some dance classes in North London run by the arts charity Create, which are improving the health and brightening the lives of older residents in the area:

The article talks about how dancing can play a valuable role in the physical and mental wellbeing of older people. It refers to how a Royal Society of Public Health report in 2013 found that music and the visual arts improved vital signs, reduced anxiety and blood pressure and highlighted dance for its potential in easing loneliness and in encouraging non-verbal communication. Physical benefits include improvements in balance, strength and gait, which reduce the risk of falls.

Bilton Community Centre Open Day – 22nd August

I enjoyed a great afternoon yesterday at the Bilton Community Centre Open Day with two lovely volunteers – Lynda and Dorothy. There was a lot of interest in the Dancing for Well-Being display and many leaflets were taken, so we hope to welcome some new members to our very friendly Bilton group in the next couple of weeks.

Display at BCC OD Lynda & Dot

Bilton Group featured in Inspire Magazine

A few months ago the Bilton Dancing for Well-Being group took part in a photo shoot for Arthritis Care’s Inspire Magazine. “Keeping Moving” was the theme for Arthritis Care Week in May this year so the Bilton group, which is supported by the Harrogate branch of Arthritis Care and has many members with arthritis, was featured.

In the Autumn edition of Inspire Magazine, which has just been published, there are a two photos and an excellent write-up –

Inspire photosInspire write-up

Woodfield Community Day on Saturday, 1st August

A huge thank you to the members and volunteers from the Bilton and Hampsthwaite  groups who joined me for a Dancing for Well-Being demo at the Woodfield Community Day last Saturday – we had a lot of fun! Thank you to the people brave enough to join us and also to those not quite brave enough who tapped and clapped and sang along as onlookers.

The event took place in and around the now well-established Bilton and Woodfield Community Library in the grounds of Woodfield Primary School. It’s a fantastic library run by volunteers – a great resource for the local community.

Wdfield Open Day 1Wdfield Open Day 2

Thank you to Anne Richards for these photos. We started off inside the library, then moved outside to make the most of this summer’s rare sunshine!

Photo Shoot for NYCC on 9th July

Had a lovely time yesterday with a small group of Dancing for Well-Being members who very kindly said yes to joining me for a photo shoot at very short notice.

North Yorkshire County Council have a regular pull-out section in the Harrogate Advertiser and were looking for a photo depicting services that promote health and well-being to go in their next issue which is due out soon.

Richard Webb, NYCC’s Director of Health and Adult Services, wanted to join us in the photo. He really entered into the spirit as we sang and pom-pommed our way through “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts”!!!


JNE_8116-2 - S

The staff at NYCC were very kind, welcoming us with refreshments and fans (it was hot hot hot!). Before Richard Webb arrived we were having a practice and the photographer – Richard Jemison – was so funny he had us falling about laughing!

NYCC photo - S

 Fairfax Community Centre

Family Fun Day on Saturday 6th June

Just got back from a lovely afternoon at the Fairfax Community Centre  family fun day. My display was in the refreshments area so had lots of chats with people about Dancing for Well-Being over cups of tea and delicious cup cakes.


Fairfax CC Open Day


Chain Lane Community Hub Group Launch Event

We were delighted to have over 40 guests at our Cream Tea Party on Tuesday 19th May to launch the new group at Chain Lane Community Hub. The weather forecast was threatening all sorts so we were really grateful to everyone who made the effort to come.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Knaresborough, Tony and Lori Handley, came along and joined in all the dancing, as did Liz Meade, the Stronger Communities Manager at North Yorkshire County Council, who are providing some funding support to the new group for the first year.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the members from my existing groups who came along to give their support and to the AMAZING volunteers who helped make everything run so smoothly. We had a lot of fun!

A number of guests said they will definitely be coming to the new group which starts for real on Tuesday, 2nd June 2.30 -4.00 p.m.

CLCH Launch Party 1

CLCH Launch Party 7

Dementia Awareness Week

Dance bombing Harrogate Library on Thursday 21st May

I was invited to have a display at Harrogate Library during Dementia Awareness Week – 18-22nd May.

Dementia Week 212

Dementia Week 217

In case you’re wondering… we’re playing our trombones of course! This is a Charleston dance to Happy Feet and I’m dancing with my husband Glyn, who gets roped into everything (brave man), Debby Lennox, Community Liaison Worker with Dementia Forward ( and Pet Fowler Watts from Memory Bank ( Thank you to Ann Garman from Harrogate Library for taking these on her mobile phone as I’d forgotten my camara.