In 1977, Rebecca Lambert broke the mass tap-dancing world record with Roy Castle outside BBC Television Centre. Now, 43 years on, she’s joining hundreds of others to take part in our National Tapathon this Sunday in memory of her husband, David.
“I started dancing when I was 3 years old and joined the Ivy Baker School of Dancing when I was six. I danced at the BBC studios in 1977 with Roy Castle as part official world record attempt and again for the TV show in 1981, when I was a student teacher at The Dance Centre.
A year later, in 1982, I married by husband, David. We met at our local newsagent; he was the deputy manager at the time, and I worked on a Sunday morning. We went on to have two daughters, Jessica and Emily and, now have a 6-month-old granddaughter, Elsie.
David first had cancer in 1979, when he was just 21. He was clear for nearly 20 years before it returned in 1998. A few years later he got his first brain tumour which was removed and treated. The brain tumour returned, and he had a second operation to remove it on our anniversary. He then got cancer on both kidneys and his lungs.
He had various treatments to reduce the tumours. Unfortunately, when the brain tumour returned for the third time, the surgeons had to stop the operation after he suffered a heart attack. He still lived with his disease for nearly another two years before passing away last August. My mum also passed away from lung cancer in 2008.
Throughout my life and David’s illness, I continued to teach dance. I taught children and students of all ages and in different genre since gaining my first teaching qualification in 1980. I did cabaret for a while, but always wanted to teach. I am now a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) at a local primary school and teach after school at The Debbie Millar School of Dance in Lawford.
It’s brought back many memories taking part of the tapathon. Not just for me, but for my family and friends too. They are really looking forward to seeing a video of me performing on Sunday.
The routine is coming along well, and I should be more than ready to the big day on Sunday. It’s been really good to have this to focus on in lockdown and raising money for such an important charity, with whom it feels like I have many connections, from my personal losses to the disease and ever since that 1977 world record. It’s almost like coming full circle.”
To donate to Rebecca’s tapathon challenge, click here.