Ellie follows in Val’s dancing footsteps – 37 years on

Ellie Griffiths with her trophies
Ellie Griffiths with her trophies

TALENTED youngster Ellie Griffiths had extra reason to celebrate when she lifted a prestigious dance title.

The student of the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts beat 25 rivals to lift the tap solo crown at a festival of dance in the Customs House at South Shields.

Val Armstrong with the same trophy 37 years ago

Val Armstrong with the same trophy 37 years ago

She was the cream of the crop in the 10-12-year age group and to make her victory even more special, it was the same crown her dance teacher Val Armstrong lifted years earlier.

Val, who runs her own studio in Whitby Street South in Hartlepool, was a pupil of Freda Compton when she won the same South Shields title in 1976.

Val said: “I am delighted for Ellie and it is a proud moment for me. It brings back some lovely memories as a North East tapper.”

Just as delighted was Ellie’s mum Libby Griffiths, 42, who said her daughter’s success had come just days before her 11th birthday.

Libby, who works for Housing Hartlepool and is married to Darren Griffiths, also 42, said: “I was over the moon for her.

“It wasn’t until she won it that Val said she was the first person to win it after she won it.

“Everyone was really pleased that ‘Miss Val’ was on the trophy.”

She said students at Val’s school were “really lucky because they do so many different styles as well as acting and singing.

“When it comes to the solos, it takes a lot of commitment and dedication.”

But the South Shields success was not Ellie’s only triumph. She also picked up the crown at the Northern Tap Dance Championship held at the Southlands Centre in Middlesbrough.

Libby said her daughter was up against a field of 60 competitors for that challenge.