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MELKSHAM Rock ‘n’ Roll club is celebrating its 200th dance this week with Rockin’ The Joint appearing alongside its original DJ, Cockney Rebel, on Saturday 21st July.
Starting in February 2001 by Geoff Mitcham, later being joined by Richard Johnstone in 2002, the club came to fruition after a trial dance was organised in the Assembly Hall by Geoff in August 2001.
It was arranged both as a Millennium dance and to raise funds for Melksham Carnival. The evening saw Mark Keeley’s Good Rockin’ Tonight and a DJ, and over 200 people packed the room, Richard then came on board with dances still continuing to this day.
Geoff said, “Since the beginning we have had 100 separate bands or artists including; from America, Charlie Gracie and Lind Gail Lewis; from Germany The Lennerockers, and British stars such as: Marty Wilde, Mike Berry, Wee Willie Harris, Vince Eager, Chas Hodges and John Leyton. We’ve also had some of the top British bands such as Matchbox, Crazy Cavan, The Rapiers, The Stargazers, The Jets and Johnny & The Jailbirds. We’ve also had 9 different DJs, all with their own styles and playlists.
“We couldn’t have done it without the generous help of various people in the team. Sadly, Rich got married and moved to South Wales. He then found travelling difficult, so decided to give it up last year.
“However, our Jive instructors Jason and Sam got together and performed at various events around the area, including Lacock at War and Trowbridge May Day celebrations to bring in some extra cash. Also Jason has Djd for us quite often and Jean, one of our members, supplies us with raffle prices to keep the dances going. I’ll be eternally grateful for their help.
“All the bands love playing here at the Assembly Hall because it is a proper dance hall and many will remember when we had Paul’s Pops with the likes of Billy Fury and Johnny Kidd playing there and their spirit lives on.”
The 200th celebratory dance is at the Assembly Hall on Saturday 21st July with Rockin’ the Joint plus DJ Cockney Rebel. Admission is £10, with doors opening at 7.30pm. For more information contact 709887 or visit www.melkshamrockandroll.co.uk.
Pictured above: Melksham Rock ‘n’ Roll dance