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Jane Walford White Rose Festival liaison member
Jane Walford
Jane Walford

I have been a member of the Branch Committee on two previous occasions, once when Irene Dracup was Chair and the other with Catherine Livsey, but I can’t remember the dates.

I was first introduced to Scottish Country Dancing in 2005 when I was invited to a walk through dance in Sheffield.  I was an empty nester, my youngest daughter had left home to go to university the previous year, and I was looking for some new interests and hobbies. It’s fair to say that I wasn’t a natural dancer and I was flummoxed for most of the evening, but I enjoyed it enough to want to learn how to dance and so I joined the Tuesday evening class run by Alan and Susan Carr.  I was fortunate that Irene Dracup took the beginners for a separate class for the first half of the evening before we joined the more experienced dancers in the second half.  I found this was an ideal way to learn, and with Irene’s patient teaching and gentle encouragement I gained in confidence and discovered the joy of dancing, and soon I was attending several classes each week, as many as I could fit in around my work.

Dancing became an important part of my week and the perfect antidote to the stresses of my job. I loved to dance and I went to many day schools, dancing weekends, dancing holidays and summer school at St Andrews.  I was fortunate to dance with the Leeds team at many events, demonstrations and at the Newcastle Festival.  The birth of my first granddaughter in 2016, and my decision to provide childcare to enable my daughter to return to work, brought about a sea change and although my love of dancing hadn’t diminished, I no longer had the flexibility to dance as much as I would like.  This is still the case. My youngest granddaughter has just turned one and I have a few more years to go before I regain my freedom!

In 2011 Catherine and Don asked me if I would take over from Don as Chair of the White Rose Festival Committee. I reluctantly agreed after considerable arm twisting! I shadowed Don for the 2012 Festival, and what a lot there was to learn! Needless to say Don left everything in immaculate order and he made it very easy for me to take over the role, however the 2013 Festival felt very daunting as the new Chair.  I’ve grown into the role and I now enjoy organising the White Rose Festival.  I’m lucky to have a fantastic hard working committee and many additional helpers on the day who make my job both easy and very satisfying. Unfortunately we had to cancel the 2020 and 2021 events due to the pandemic, but I am confident that we will be able to go ahead this year and it will be wonderful to hold the White Rose Festival in Leeds again.