Dancers strictly on target for Tapathon

Janet Austin Tappers with Janet Austin and daughter Felicity (front)
Janet Austin Tappers with Janet Austin and daughter Felicity (front)

ORGANISERS of this year’s Tapathon have set themselves an ambitious target - to reach £200,000 raised for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation since the event started 15 years ago.

Janet Austin and Ashley Nelson who are organising Sunday’s event at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax, are pulling out all the stops to make the 16th Roy’s Relay Tapathon a success.

They are following in the footsteps of event founders Derek and Vera Hamer of Brighouse who retired after last year’s event and are determined to make every effort to reach the target.

Said Ashley: “In the past 15 years since they started, the Tapathons have raised £189,000 and have averaged £11,000 per year in recent times. If everyone makes a special effort the overall total should reach £200,000 this year. This is a fantastic achievement for the Tapathons and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.”

About 400 dancers from 15 dance schools from the Brighouse, Halifax, Huddersfield and Bradford areas are signed up.

They include the Janet Austin Tappers from Waring Green Community Centre, Brighouse, and Huddersfield, Dorothy Stevens School of Dance, Lightcliffe, Barbara Peters School of Dance and the Dance Mill in Halifax. There will be non-stop dance action from 10am to 4pm.

Janet said: “It has been daunting stepping in to organise the Tapathon after the incredible work down by Derek and Vera over the years. The main thing is that such a special event keeps going and it’s down to the support of all the dance schools in the area that this year’s event is taking place.

“There is such a special buzz about taking part in the Tapathon - the whole atmopshere is fantastic. Reaching £200,000 is such an important milestone and we’re going to work really hard to make sure we get there.”

Scholes-born Roy Castle - a dancer, musician, singer and comedian - died from lung cancer in 1994, despite being a non-smoker.

The Tapathon was founded in 1997 by Derek and Vera Hamer who had been childhood friends of the popular entertainer.

Lung cancer remains the biggest of the cancer killers, accounting for 35,000 deaths in the UK alone each year.

Research carried out by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation forms the basis of clinical trials now underway in London, Cambridge and Liverpool which will hopefully lead to a national screening programme saving many lives each year.

Janet said: “It’s such a good cause that we just want to keep supporting it and ensuring that the Tapathon continues to be a success. We’re all looking forward to Sunday.”

The main sponsor for this year’s event on Sunday is Eric Crabtree of Queensbury Old Boys.