A PIONEERING fitness instructor who introduced line dancing into the local area is hanging up her cowboy hat at the grand age of 80.
Joan Gregory of Church Lane, Flamborough, has been teaching keep fit for half a century and was responsible for bringing the line dancing craze to the area when she started her own classes in Flamborough village hall 16-years-ago.
Joan, who has performed several times in the Doncaster Royal Albert Hall, said that she caught the line dancing bug during a trip to America to see her daughter in the early nineties.
She said: “We visited Arizona and I bought a line dancing video.
“My daughter said there were some classes nearby so I went along. I’d never seen it until then, and I thought it was something that might catch on back at home.”
On her return, Joan set up her own class at Flamborough village hall, and also took her line dancing to nearby villages including Kilham and Rudston.
The craze took off, and until this day Joan still has 30 members registered with her Thursday weekly sessions in Flamborough.
She will take her last class next Thursday - unless her attempt to leave is foiled by her students as it once was before.
Joan explains: “I tried to leave about six-years-ago because I thought it was time.
“Then I went off on holiday and when I came back somebody told me that my line dancing class had set up a petition asking me to keep on with the sessions!
“I didn’t believe it at first, but I was told there were quite a few names on it as well.
“I was very flattered and it did persuade me to keep on with the classes, just for fun, for a few more years, but sadly this time the doctors have told me that my dancing days are over.”
Joan is taking the doctors advice due to the onset of arthritis but admits that she felt emotional when she told her class that the sessions were coming to an end.
“I did get a little bit choked when I told them all I was finishing.
“I will miss all the girls and I don’t know what I’ll be doing with my Thursdays now, I’ve been so used to running the classes all these years.
“I’ve had trouble with my back before, and at the moment I’m struggling to lift one my legs properly, I think it’s just arthritis but it’s time to call it a day with the dancing.”