Our dancing brought a big band to their feet
Fred and Beryl Tunnicliffe share their memories of long evenings spent ballroom dancing during the 1960s. They talk to Jenny Amphlett.
Fred and Beryl Tunnicliffe received a standing ovation from a dance band after an evening on the dancefloor at Trentham Gardens.
The couple, from North Street, Leek, had been the only dancers to turn up to a midweek big band evening during the late 1960s.
"It was many years ago and the management of Trentham Gardens decided to have a series of mid-week dances there with some of the big bands of the day," explains Beryl, aged 69.
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"We went each week but on one week we were the only couple there.
"The band played solidly for one hour while we danced around the ballroom.
"After the hour the band stood up and applauded us. That was some dance."
The couple, who celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary in February, were then given free tickets to attend the following week's dance.
They were prompted to share their memories after reading the recollections of former dance teacher Eric Hand in a recent edition of The Way We Were.
82-year-old gas board worker Fred and retired clerical worker Beryl had met while attending lessons given by Eric Hand and his late wife.
"Reading Eric's article about the decline of ballroom dancing brought back a lot of memories for us as we were taught by Eric and Carol at the Majestic in Hanley," says Beryl.
"It was there that I first met Fred and I used to go for dancing lessons with my sisters.
"We went to the dance school for years and moved around with them when they went to different venues."
Beryl was such a keen dancer that she used to help her tutors with their children's classes at weekends.
"I used to help with the younger ones then Fred and I would have a private lesson before going home to have a bath, change and then out again to dance until midnight.
"We went for lessons for years and I went as far as I could with my classes.
"In fact Eric and Carol wanted me to start teaching with them but I didn't think it was for me."
The couple no longer dance, due to Fred's ill health.
However they do still keep in touch with Eric Hand.
"We don't see him often because we don't live nearby and I don't drive," says Beryl. "But we swap cards at Christmas and occasionally he will come to see us."
Beryl says she does still miss her ballroom dancing days.
"It was good fun and we made an awful lot of friends through our dancing," she says.
"It's just a pity that ballroom dances aren't still held for the people who can still do it. People want different things now."
"Our grandchildren are still quite young but I've told them that when they're a little bit older I'll teach them how to ballroom dance.
"They watch Strictly Come Dancing on the television so they are quite keen on the idea."
Fred and Beryl have one son, one daughter and two granddaughters.
Would you like to share your ballroom dancing memories? Write to Jenny Amphlett, including your full name, address and telephone number, at: Features Desk, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5SS, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org