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12th June 2020

Graham Bettelley

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Like most us of, Graham has found lockdown very difficult. Not only is he away from his two children and five grandchildren, he’s also not been able to dance with his weekly tap group and keep those twinkle toes active. That is until our National Tapathon…

“Since retirement some years ago, I have built two long greenhouses in our back garden and grow a large number of geraniums which takes up a considerable amount of time. Although l’m 81, I have no intention of slowing down, so when I heard about the Tapathon I signed up immediately.

It’s fair to say my love of dancing wasn’t born naturally. When I was a small child, my mother noticed my left foot pointed inwards. She took me to the doctor who told my mother to send me dancing. I was reluctant at first – boys don’t dance – but eventually came to like it – especially tap.

ln 1955 aged 16, l joined the Worthing Musical Comedy Society as a dancer where I played many parts including performing a sword dance in the part of Harry Ritchie in Brigadoon, danced the carnival boy in the Carousel ballet and danced on stilts with Tom Thumb in Barnum. My favourite part, though, was playing the part of the choreographer, Andy Lee in 42nd Street’. It involved a lot of tap dancing.

My love for dance grew and grew and is something that has remained with me to the present day. It’s excellent exercise and helps with your agility and balance. I’m now part of a lovely group of tappers, run by Sally Parkinson who owns Dance Beat Studio, a dance school covering the Worthing area, and we take part in the school’s annual concert at the Windmill Theatre Littlehampton.

The tapathon routine was impressive considering the steps were basic tap, but expertly set in such a way that people of all abilities could manage them. I think you can tell by my video that I thoroughly enjoyed myself!”

Graham was one of thousands to take part in this year’s virtual tapathon, raising money to support those living with the lung cancer.

Through our Just Giving page, tappers have collectively raised over £43,000. We would love that total to hit £50,000! To donate to our National Tapathon, simply visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/NationalTapathon