Chance meeting with Wayne for proud Poolies

Wayne Sleep with the group from Hartlepool
Wayne Sleep with the group from Hartlepool

A STARSTRUCK group from Hartlepool had a splashing time when they bumped into a celebrity by the pool in Las Vegas.

Friends and family from the town were in the USA to support three dance crews competing in the World Hiphop Championships at the Red Rock resort.

And while they were taking a break from supporting Ruff Diamond, Nu Diamond and Diamond Allstars, they spotted world renowned dancer Wayne Sleep who has plenty of connections to Hartlepool himself.

And in no time at all, they were chatting to Wayne about their hometown.

One of them was Janet Staunch who was there to support her son Aaron, 18, who is a member of the Ruff Diamond dance crew.

Janet, 47, said: “Wayne was there to teach dancing. When he found out we were all from Hartlepool, he was buzzing.”

The 64-year-old dancer was born in Plymouth in 1948.

He and his family moved to Hartlepool around three years later and, in his 10 years in town, he began dancing lessons.

It was the start of a rise to stardom which saw him join the Royal Ballet in 1966.

He is remembered for appearing in the reality TV series, I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! as well as appearing as a judge on BBC One’s Strictly Dance Fever.

The popular figure agreed to pose for photographs with the Hartlepool visitors. Janet added: “I told him I had a copy of the Hartlepool Mail but I later found out it had been thrown out.

“He was saying he was disappointed because he wanted to read it.”

The three dance crews from Hartlepool did themselves proud in the world championships. Diamond Allstars reached the semi-finals, Nu Diamond placed 15th out of 26 crews, and Ruff Diamond reached the semi-finals where they placed 27th out of 66 competing teams, in their first ever attempt in the adult section.

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