Melksham Country Dancers celebrated their 40th (and final) year running an annual Children’s Day of Folk Dance for local primary schools on Wednesday 16th March at the Melksham Assembly Hall.
Geoff Elwell (president and secretary of Melksham Country Dancers) said, “The first event took place in 1977 when its founder, Kathleen McFerran, recognised there was a need to promote folk dancing to the younger generation. Local schools were approached and there was sufficient interest to go ahead. Several schools were already teaching some elements of the dancing and they welcomed as an excellent idea the opportunity for schools to mix together with what had been learnt. When Kathleen moved to the Isle of Man in the 1990s the club continued running the event, which was well established and organised by then.
“Over the 40 years the club caller Mr. Stan Vice has successfully led the dancing every year. He was presented with an engraved trophy for his longstanding dedication to helping the children. To be able to dance well, all in time and together to Stan’s directions, there is a need for musical accompaniment and since 1979 Brian Lyons, leader of the Wiltshire Klof Folk Dance Band, together with various musician friends has provided it. Publicity and administration has been successfully carried out by our longstanding member Christine Gale. Both Brian and Christine were also presented with engraved trophies for their services.
‘The event has always been well supported by both Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Parish Council and the schools within their areas. Between 300 and 350 children attending each year, thoroughly enjoying the day. On occasion visits by the Town Mayor, the Town Crier and children’s entertainers have enhanced the experience for the children.
“Folk dancing is good exercise and you do not necessarily need a partner. A weekly meeting is held at the Riverside Club, Bath Road on a Monday evening at 7.30pm. For more information contact Geoff on 01225 703650 or visit the website