A young dancer who was injured in the Manchester Arena attack in May last year took to the stage at the Harrogate International Youth Festival (HIYF) at the weekend, raising £270 for the Manchester memorial fund.
Evie Mills, who was visited by the Queen while recovering after the attack last year, performed with the St Aelred’s Irish Dancing group during the matinee performance on Saturday.
HIYF Chairman Craig Ratcliffe thanked the audience for their support during the performance.
He said: “A huge thank you, must be given to our matinee audience who supported and enjoyed the performance of the St Aelred’s Irish Dancing group. Their performance marked the most recent return of one of their dancers, Evie Mills who was injured in the Manchester Arena bombing last year.
“With the support of her fellow dancers and parents she collected over £200 from our audience members for the Manchester Memorial fund.”
Evie’s mum Karen said: “‘We are so proud of the way that Evie has dealt with everything after the terrible Manchester bombing last year.
“We’re amazed at her resilience and so very grateful to the support shown to her and our family by St Aelred’s Irish Dancers and even by the audience at the Harrogate International Youth Festival concert by giving us their donations for the Memorial fund. We really take each day as it comes, but we’re getting there.”
The group joined young people from across the district and beyond to perform at the 45th edition of the festival.
Organisers explained before the festival that fewer groups had travelled internationally to Harrogate for the 2018 festival than in previous years due to world events and economic changes. However, a group of musicians from Bolivia were among the performers at the weekend.
Festival highlights included the St Aelred’s Irish Dancing Group and a massed choir from four primary schools – Richard Taylor CE Primary School, led by Carmel Wake, Grove Road Community Primary School, led by Stephen Morland, Pannal Primary School, led by Lizzie Williams and New Park Primary Academy school, led by Helen Mills.
The Gala matinee saw performances from groups including Tewit Youth Band, Katrina Hughes Dance School and the Harrogate Sea Cadets.
The HIYF Jazz Night at the Royal Hall saw young Jazz musicians from St Aidan’s, St John Fisher, Harrogate High School and King James School and Harrogate Youth Jazz Orchestra perform. The groups then came together to form a Mass Jazz Band.
Luke Morland, 18 and Henry Mills, 17, stepped up to the mic to assist Mr Ratcliffe with compering duties this year, as well as performing in the show.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “I’d like to thank our Harrogate audiences and local primary and secondary schools for stepping up to the challenge and helping us to put these shows together to celebrate what the festival is all about, celebrating all that is good about learning about each other’s cultural diversities but ultimately coming together to celebrate music and dance.”