Line dancing great-grandmother celebrates 20 years of teaching
PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 September 2016
A 76-year-old line dancing great-grandmother is celebrating two decades of sharing the joys of the pastime with others.
Pat Gladman has been teaching residents how to line dance at the Redbridge Social Centre, Beehive Lane, Ilford, for 20 years.
In 2002, she was diagnosed with stomach cancer and underwent a course of chemotherapy and an operation to remove her stomach and part of her oesophagus.
But in three weeks, she was back on the dancefloor and teaching classes once more. Now she is opening the saloon doors to celebrate with members of her class at a day-long party.
“I’m very excited, the party will have a pink and white theme for the ladies,” she said.
“I have a lot of women who have been attending the classes with me since I started and it’s nice to celebrate with them.”
Pat, who now lives in Rainham after moving from Clayhall, gave up her job at Redbridge Council when she was 56 in order to become a full-time teacher, after originally learning how to line dance from a video.
She said: “It’s great fun, and excellent for the ladies as you don’t need a partner.
“Years ago, women wanted to dance and not wait around!
“At some dances, ladies could be sitting all evening waiting to be asked for a dance.”
Pat and her husband Terry, who she met at a ballroom dancing class, enjoy running the classes together.
She held her first session in 1995 at St George’s Church, Gants Hill, which was an immediate success.
“More than 80 people turned up,” she said. “I started to have all these people ask me to host classes in Ilford and Romford, so I carried on.
“I went down to three days at work, but then people started asking about afternoon classes.”
Just over a year later, in July 1996, Pat took early retirement due to the success of her classes, and she has no plans to hang up the cowboy boots any time soon.
Pat is beginning a new class on September 21 at Marks Gate Children’s Centre, Rose Lane, Chadwell Heath, between 11am and noon.
Entrance is £3.50.
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