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4th May 2020

Tip-tapping our way through lockdown

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In 1977, Roy Castle along with 500 fellow tap dancers broke the world record for the largest tap dance outside the iconic BBC television studios.

Now, the charity to whom he gave his name and the last few months of this life, is looking for the original dancers to join them in its national tapathon on Sunday 24th May.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the only UK charity solely dedicated to support everyone affected by lung cancer, the UK’s biggest cancer killer.

This year should have been a year of celebration for the charity. However, as with many charities, it is facing difficult times as COVID-19 severely impacts on fundraising.

Despite this, the charity remains positive following an overwhelming amount of support to its 30th anniversary appeal and is now concentrating its efforts on finding alternative ways to raise money, most notably its Tapathon.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, explains more:

“Those who remember Roy Castle will recall what an amazing tap dancer he was, so as part of our 30th anniversary, we wanted to create an event that paid tribute to him and that could be done in these strange times, and we came up with the tapathon.

We want everyone to join together, including those who danced with Roy outside Television Centre, and learn a tap-inspired routine. Then, on Sunday 24th May, we’ll all come together in the comfort, safety and privacy of our own home and dance!

It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned pro or have two left feet, anyone can take part. It’s a great way to get some exercise, have some fun, pay tribute to Roy and support those living with lung cancer.”

Those who sign up for the tapathon will receive an online tutorial video choreographed and performed by The Greatest Dancer Finalist, Harrison Vaughan.

Fiona Castle, Roy’s wife, believes the entertainer would have loved the idea of the tapathon:

“Roy loved to dance, and he loved seeing the joy dance gave to others.

We are all in a very worrying time at the moment, particularly those living with lung cancer who are amongst the most vulnerable to serious illness should they catch coronavirus.

The tapathon gives us back a little light. Dance is joyous and I’m very moved that the charity is using one of Roy’s passions to try and help them through this difficult situation. It feels like he’s still supporting them after all this time.”

One of those who has already signed up is Emma O’Dowd. She is a consultant in respiratory medicine at Nottingham University Hospital and is currently splitting her time between lung cancer patients and COVID-19 shifts:

“Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation supported me through my PhD and I am incredibly grateful for that. The charity gave me fantastic academic and career opportunities, so when I heard about the Tapathon, I thought it was the ideal way to help to raise money and do something fun at the same time.

I’ve danced since I was little and only stopped during university. Tap dancing was always one of my favourite things to do so I’m actually really looking forward to putting my tap shoes back on again and enjoying learning the routine. Hopefully I can still remember how to do it!”

For more information about Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s virtual tapathon, or to take part, please click here.

If you are one of the original All Stars who danced with Roy Castle at BBC Television Centre, please contact Emma Pearson from the charity: emma.pearson@roycastle.org.