Dancing the night away for YCR

Dancing couple Jack & Sylvia Parkes
Dancing couple Jack & Sylvia Parkes

A COUPLE in their seventies who have been holding charity dances at Bishop Monkton Village Hall for the past seven years will once again be dancing the night away.

Jack and Sylvia Parkes have been holding sequence, old-time and ballroom dances at the hall in aid of Yorkishire Cancer Research since 2004, raising nearly £2,500 for the charity.

The pair, aged 75 and 74, were initially inspired to start dancing by Jack’s large collection of CDs and they soon realised it was a great way to stay healthy and meet new people.

Sylvia said: “Jack had always wanted to hold dances. We grew up in the age when couples danced together, but we didn’t do it for many years after we had children.

“We really enjoy it and it keeps us so fit. I don’t think people realise how many men and women in our age group go dancing. There are people still doing it at 90.

“We’re very surprised when we see some of them get up dance, it’s got to be doing us good.”

When Sylvia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, she said the dances became even more important to her as a way of leaving her troubles behind.

Although Sylvia successfully overcame the disease, her niece Debbie Jones died from breast cancer in 2010 aged 47. Sylvia also lost her sister, Shirley Hunter to ovarian cancer in 2000.

“The specialist told me to keep dancing saying it was the best thing for me. It makes you forget about everything and helps you to get better,” Sylvia said.

About 80 people now attend the dances, which take place twice a month with the help of Jack and Sylvia’s friends Ray and Morag Mott.

The sessions cost £3 if recorded music is played and £4-£5 with live music. A raffle is held to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research, and either a buffet is provided or dancers enjoy a sit-down supper together.

“We’ll keep going as long as we can keep going, but we’d really like to attract younger ones to help the tradition continue into the future,” Sylvia added.

If you would like to attend the dances, contact Jack and Sylvia on 01904 737923.