Memory of Wendy lives on through St Wilfrid’s Dance Group in Preston

St Wilfrid's Dance Group in Preston has donated �500 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation
St Wilfrid's Dance Group in Preston has donated �500 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation

Carrying on their daughter’s passion for dancing has always been at the forefront of Glennys and Gary Woods’s minds after she died in a tragic accident.

So setting up St Wilfrid’s Dance Group in Preston was a natural tribute to their beloved Wendy.

St Wilfrid's Dance Group in Preston

St Wilfrid's Dance Group in Preston

The couple founded the group in 1991, a year after 10-year-old Wendy died when her coat got caught in the doors of a bus on her way home from a dance class in Preston.

Glennys says: “It is our way of making good come from tragedy. Wendy’s accident happened the week before Christmas in 1990. It was dreadful.

“So we set up the dance class in her memory and we run it for a charity.

“We donate our time for free. Our dancers pay £2 per session and when we have £1,000 saved, we split it between two charities.

Wendy Woods, who died in December 1990

Wendy Woods, who died in December 1990

“Wendy loved dancing. She was very talented and could have gone to the top. She was a member of a ballroom dancing class in Avenham Street, Preston.”

Dancing has always been a part of Glennys and Gary’s lives - and it was something they introduced their two children to.

They were contemporaries of Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas and her husband Corky, who ended up training Wendy.

Glennys, who has three grandchildren, adds: “We were on the dance scene with Shirley Ballas and her husband Corky who used to train the formation team at Avenham Street. As a result, he did dance demonstrations and trained Wendy, as well as my other son, Gary.

“We used to compete in the dance formation at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and when Shirley and Corky competed, we used to keep an eye on his son, Mark, who is now a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars.

“Shirley and Corky were both lovely.

“I have always enjoyed dancing. I have danced since I was a little girl. My mum sent me to dance lessons and so that is why I put my own children into classes.”

The couple’s passion for dancing now inspires others once a week at St Wilfrid’s Parish Centre, Chapel Street, Preston.

The dance sessions also raise funds for charities. Their latest drive sees them donate £500 each to Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s 20 Years Anniversary Appeal and Donna’s Dream House in Blackpool, which provides holiday experiences for youngsters with life-threatening illnesses and for recently bereaved families.

Glennys, who through the group has donated many thousands of pounds to primarily local causes over the years, adds: “We do a bit of everything – ballroom, Latin and American.

“We have a great time. And the fact we are able to donate the dance fees to great causes makes it so much better.

“I think Wendy would have been proud. We have met so many lovely people through our fund-raising.

“Every year we let the members chose the charities. They write a charity on a piece of paper and we pick two. In the past we have donated to the Salvation Army, St Catherine’s Hospice and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

“We have now donated £500 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s 20 Years Anniversary Appeal and Donna’s Dream House in Blackpool.”

The group meets every Wednesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30pm in St Wilfrid’s Parish Centre, Chapel Street.

Glennys adds: “Our dance group is open to everyone, including absolute beginners and those with two left feet.”