Meadowhall tea dancers enjoyed a slice of Meadowhall’s birthday celebrations this week, when the group were presented with champagne and a special birthday cake to mark their contribution to the centre’s community over the years.
The Meadowhall weekly tea dance has been running for an amazing 22 years, bringing people together at the centre to socialise and enjoy ballroom dancing whilst being entertained by a live band.
And this week, the tea dancers swapped their usual cuppa for something a little special, toasting their decades of waltzing and fox trots with a glass of champagne and birthday cake, specially delivered by centre Director Darren Pearce.
He said: “We have anything up to 100 dancers coming together at Meadowhall every Monday for this social gathering and we’re delighted that it has stood the test of time. It is as popular now as it was, over 20 years ago. “We see the Tea Dance as an important part of Meadowhall and how we can help to bring people together, so it was important that we made them part of our 25th birthday celebrations. I was also told my moves need a little more work so I might have to come back for some lessons in the future.”
Malcolm, 80, and Margaret Ashton, 79, have been married for 56 years and have been coming to the Tea Dance for more than a decade. Malcolm explained: “We love it, we get to see our friends every week, and it’s just perfect. We hold raffles for charity and can have a tea or coffee, then a dance or just enjoy the live music.”
George Pearson, 98, is the oldest member of the Tea Dance regulars and he has been coming from the very beginning. Widower George comes with his neighbours to listen to the music and just to “enjoy the social occasion”. He added: “I don’t like lots of visitors at home but this is lovely because I still get out and about and can meet people.”
Brian and Gloria Studley, from Sheffield, have an even longer connection to Meadowhall as Brian used to work at the old Hadfield steelworks, where the centre is sited. “My grandfather used to work there with his brothers so we have a long history with the site,” he said. Gloria also has fond memories of Meadowhall opening but for different reasons as her grandson was born shortly after the big day. “It’s easy to remember the opening as he arrived just afterwards, so he’s 25 this year, just like Meadowhall,” she added.
The group members enjoyed a chat with Darren and special commemorative photographs were taken. These will be presented to tea dance members as a memento.
Meadowhall celebrates its 25th birthday on Friday September 4, 2015.