A TEENAGER bravely danced her way to a prestigious title just days after losing her beloeved granddad.
The family of 13-year-old Candice Theasby, from Hartlepool, wanted to pull the teenager out of the Northern Stage Modern Championships after her granddad Thomas Watson, 77, died from pneumonia six days before she was due to perform.
But Candice defiantly told her family: “I want to do it for granddad.”
She beat off the challenge of 80 other competitors to clinch the title and then gave up her plaque so it could be buried with Thomas.
Mum Kelly Theasby, 40, from the Park Road area of Hartlepool, said: “I am proud of her every time she wins a competition but that one was extra special.
“The dance that Candice did was the one her granddad liked the most. It was based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was really emotional and there were loads of tears when she won.
“He was one of those granddads who was proud of everything his grandchildren did. He would have been delighted with her.”
She said Candice, who trains at the Watson Academy of Dance, in Park Road, worked really hard for her success just six days after Thomas died on June 12.
Dance school owner Mandy Watson, who is Candice’s aunt, said: “What she has done is fantastic. She won a trophy and plaque at the competition and she put the plaque in with her granddad to be buried.”
Candice has enjoyed a string of recent successes. She won the Northern Counties Dance Teachers’ Association championships at South Shields and lifted the trophy in both the ballet and modern sections against 90 other competitors.
It was the second year running that Candice had won the modern category in that competition.
She then won the Northern Stage Modern Championships at the Southlands Centre, in Middlesbrough, taking the crown for a second year running.
Further success could be just around the corner.
Candice has been shortlisted for the Classique de Danse Awards, which is only available to high-achieving young dancers.
Candice, who attends English Martyrs School, and the last two other remaining entrants – from thousands all over the country – will learn their fate in Southport on July 30.