Hartlepool dance club could fold if new members don’t step forward

LOVELY GROUP: Dance Club chairman Fred Greaves and wife Dot have been there since the 1960s.
LOVELY GROUP: Dance Club chairman Fred Greaves and wife Dot have been there since the 1960s.

AT its height, it boasted 200 members during the Swinging Sixties.

But now, a popular dance club is in danger of folding unless new toe-tappers take to the floor.

Wynyard Road Community Centre Tuesday Night Dance Club chairman Fred Greaves, with wife Dot, right, and club secretary Hannah Chapman

Wynyard Road Community Centre Tuesday Night Dance Club chairman Fred Greaves, with wife Dot, right, and club secretary Hannah Chapman

The Tuesday Night Dance Club has been running for over five decades and providing a source of fun, friends, laughter, and music once each week.

But the once packed-out club, which is held at the Wynyard Road Community Centre, in Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, has seen its numbers steadily dwindle over the years – and there are now just 16 jivers left.

None of the current members want to see the group close, but if new members cannot be attracted to replace those that have sadly died or hung up their dancing shoes due to illness, then they believe there is no other way forward.

Chairman of the group, Fred Greaves, 84, who has attended the sequence dancing sessions since the 1960s with his wife Doreen, 84, hopes that a new troupe of about 10 budding dancers can be coaxed to come along and try it out.

The dad-of-two and grandad-of-five, who has been running the club for the last 20 years, said: “The club used to run at about 200 and odd back in the day, in the 1960s. I used to go then too.

“People used to sit about two to three deep around the edge of the hall while people took it in turns to dance.

“We had a dance teacher and his wife and they used to teach people how to dance and they’d get up and follow them.

“I do the music and the programme now and me and my wife get up and lead the floor. It’s such a lovely group.”

He added: “Over the years though the numbers have dwindled and it’s really quite sad.

“It’s old age and what have you.

“We’ve had to cancel the last couple of weeks with people being ill and basically we didn’t have enough people to run the club. It’s not funds, it’s people. We held a meeting with the members who are left to discuss what we could do, and basically we need more members or the future looks very uncertain for us. We’d probably have to close. We just need another eight to 10 members.”

The club runs every Tuesday from 7.30pm until 9.30pm and people do not need to know how to dance.

Fees are £5 per month, which includes tea and biscuits, but Fred said people could have a free taster session to see if they like it.

Fred, who also has nine great-grandchildren, said: “We’re a really friendly group, it keeps you fit, keeps you going, and it doesn’t matter whether you know how to dance or not. We all didn’t know how to at one time.”

Anyone who would like to join the Tuesday Night Dance telephone Fred on (01429) 292070.