Blackhall dance duo celebrate platinum wedding anniversary

A COUPLE who have waltzed through married life have celebrated an impressive 70 years of wedded bliss.

Wartime sweethearts Bob and Doris Hall marked their platinum wedding anniversary with a party surrounded by family and friends.

Bob and Doris Hall

Bob and Doris Hall

And as the couple are well-known in East Durham, having set up Hall’s Elite School of Dance in their home village of Blackhall more than 40 years ago, some of their proteges of yesteryear were also there.

Bob, 90, and Doris, nee Ayre, 90 next week, met while queuing at the cinema in Blackhall in 1943.

The next night they were on their first date, at a dance.

That night was to form the basis of a love affair with not only each other but with dancing, and they have taught hundreds of people a move or two over the years.

They married at St Andrew’s Church, in Blackhall, on July 22, 1944.

Their dance school was founded in 1971 in Hesleden Road, in Blackhall, after the couple completed their dance exams, running for 21 years, and Blackhall Dance Club is a successor of the Halls’ organisation.

Doris, who worked at the munitions factory in Newton Aycliffe, where an explosion on a machine saw her blown through a window, still dances.

Ex-miner Bob was dancing until two years ago and they were spending their anniversary evening with members of the dance club.

The couple have a daughter, Elaine Brooks, 66, who also taught at the school, and three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, with one on the way.

Before they opened their school, offering, sequence, ballroom and latin, with 200 pupils at its height, they travelled all over East Durham teaching and competed all over the country.

Graduates include the couple’s grandsons Darren and Chris Park, who became british champions.

Doris said: “It is all happy memories and I miss teaching dancing very much.

“It was marvellous to see our former pupils again.”