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Couple from Nottingham reflect on 10 amazing years of tea dances

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08 Jul 2021

A couple from Carlton in Nottingham, who are volunteers for the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS), are encouraging the community to keep dancing as they look back on 10 years of running tea dances.

Mick and Moira Holmes hosted a weekly tea dance at Sherwood Community Centre for 10 years, until March 2020 when the first Covid-19 lockdown began. It won’t be possible for the couple to re-start the dances when lockdown rules relax, but they do want to raise awareness of the importance of exercise and dancing for maintaining strong, healthy bones.

Moira has been living with osteoporosis for more than 30 years but in that time has not had any fractures, and she is convinced that this is thanks to a combination of her osteoporosis medication and dancing.

Their tea dances would be attended by 20-30 people a week, and many attendees were affected by osteoporosis. The dances would also raise money to fund the work of the ROS' Nottingham Support Group, who, in turn, made donations to the ROS.

Moira said,

“We started putting on tea dances when we first really got the dance bug ourselves.”

“Our tea dances were all about keeping fit, enjoying good company and having fun. They weren’t serious at all and we did a bit of everything – sequence dancing, quickstep, ballroom and line dancing. Everybody loved coming along and they found the dancing kept them trim.

“Our oldest member was 101 and as one of our regulars she became a real inspiration.

“On one occasion, Strictly Come Dancing judge, Craig Revel Horwood, came along. Craig is an Ambassador for the Royal Osteoporosis Society and he was in Nottingham filming, so I took the opportunity to invite him. He came along and danced with the ladies. He was absolutely charming.

“We were lucky enough to meet him again in 2017, when we were invited to Buckingham Palace by the ROS’s President, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, to take part in a tea dance.

“The event was filmed for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, to highlight the benefits of staying active for older people. We got the chance to dance with the programme’s presenters and judges and to watch the professional dancers perform a special festive routine.

“We were honoured to spend time talking to the Duchess who is absolutely lovely. She is totally invested in osteoporosis as a cause.

“Whilst we won’t go back to hosting regular weekly tea dances, we do hope to organise the occasional one in future. In the meantime, we really want to reinforce how important it is for everyone to stay active in some way. Dance is a great option. Everybody can dance and it’s a lovely way of moving.”

Fiona Rochford at the ROS said,

“We’re truly grateful to Mick and Moira for their dedication to the ROS, and for keeping their community active for so many years. It’s an amazing achievement and one that deserves to be celebrated.

“Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to lose strength and break more easily. It affects half of women and 20% of men over 50. That’s 3.5 million people in the UK.

“It’s never too early or too late to act on your bone health. A healthy balanced diet with adequate calcium, getting enough vitamin D and both weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise are key.”