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John Pugh
John Pugh
John Pugh

I was born in old Hartlepool on the Headland and hence, may be called a “Monkey Hanger”. This term originates from the tale that the people of Hartlepool found a shipwrecked monkey on the beach during the Napoleonic Wars and not knowing what a Frenchman looked like, hung the poor monkey as a French spy.

I was Head of Ophthalmic Dispensing at Bradford College and if any of you reading this bought a new pair of spectacles, fitted by a Registered Dispensing Optician, between 1980 and 2010, there is a strong chance I taught them.

I started Scottish Country Dancing “seriously”, when my wife and I retired to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where we joined the local branch of the RSCDS. The first nerve wracking event was the formal Annual Ball held in 18th century Guild Hall. This necessitated going to Edinburgh to buy a kilt.

After a happy 3 years in Berwick, we returned to West Yorkshire to live in Steeton, where we joined Keighley S.C.D. Club under the tutorship of Christine Godwin. Christine organised many outdoor events, one of which was a demonstration in Keighley shopping centre.

I never thought I would be dancing in public at my age. Around this time we joined Don's class in Ilkley and became members of the Leeds Branch. This led to more public demonstrations organised by Catherine, these were the White Rose Festival, a demonstration in a retirement home and one at Castle Howard. We gained enough confidence in our dancing that we attended the Spring Fringe in Glasgow and Paris the following year.

I am extremely pleased that I learned SCD and joined the RSCDS in that I have made a lot of friends and found a fantastic way to exercise.