The day youngsters cruised to success

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STARSTRUCK 11-year-old Gary Forbes could not believe his luck.

He and fellow dancer Carron Robinson, aged 10, were living the dream on board a cruise ship.

In June 1973, they were heroes at the Trimdon Grange Dancing School where they learned their skills.

And rightly so. Their dancing talents were so huge, they had qualified for a cruise around Europe which included appearances in the finals of dance contests in Gibraltar and Lisbon, Portugal.

Not bad for a dancing couple whose combined age was 21.

And yet just eight weeks before fame struck, the paid did not even know each other.

They met for the first time by chance at a dance contest in Wallsend, on Tyneside. They teamed up and won that very first time they danced together.

Gary’s mum Mrs T Forbes, told the Hartlepool Mail at the time: “They were always confident they would do well.”

Within weeks, they had won so many titles they had qualified for a luxury nine-day cruise with a dance contest at various stops along the way.

And just to add to their drama, Gary, 11, and Carron, 10, had cameras from the BBC following them every step of the way.

Nine days of cruising were soon underway and so was the hard bit – taking on Europe’s best.

But the confident pair won the jive, cha-cha, Latin American and modern crowns in the challenge at Gibraltar.

And by Lisbon, they had added a trophy for modern dance to their cabinet.

Gary said at the time: “I was determined to win something but I was not surprised at gaining so much success. Right from the start, I always felt we would always set a challenging pace.”

Once it was all over, 200 friends, family and fellow dancers were waiting at the Trimdon dance school to welcome local lad Gary and Carron, from Guidepost, in Newcastle.

The adventure was over but there were enough memories to last a lifetime.

Do you remember Gary and Carron’s days of glory?

We would love to hear from you.

Contact Chris Cordner by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX, via email to, or by calling (01429) 239377.