Vintage dancing girls take to the floor

Centenarians including Betty Tattersall and Ivy Leonard help general manager of Blackpool Tower, Kate Shane, celebrate the famous building's 119th birthday in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Centenarians including Betty Tattersall and Ivy Leonard help general manager of Blackpool Tower, Kate Shane, celebrate the famous building's 119th birthday in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

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Centenarians were invited to put on their dancing shoes and relive their youth as Blackpool’s most famous attraction celebrated its birthday.

The Tower is a grand 119 years old today and, as it prepares for another summer season, those with memories of its vintage years were invited to join the party.

Fylde coast pensioners were VIP guests inside the Tower Ballroom as they spent a nostalgic afternoon inside socialising.

Ivy Leonard, 103, of Cavendish Road, Bispham, said: “I’ve been coming here for a long time, probably about 50 years.

“I come here because it’s nice.

“And I love to dance and listen to the organ’s music.”

Mrs Leonard was dancing with her daughter Anne Smart as she enjoyed an afternoon of tea and scones.

The guests were also treated to a history lesson about the famous venue and were able to roll back the years as they showed off their moves on the dance floor.

Elizabeth Tattersall, 100, lives in Ansdell and used to dance in the Ballroom as a child.

She lived in Paris with her mother but regularly visited Blackpool on holiday before moving to the Fylde coast permanently.

She said: “Dancing was the thing to do when I was a girl and more young people should be doing it.

“My mother was a dancer in Paris and I used to go there with her.

“I came to Blackpool on holiday from France and always thought it looked lovely when I arrived on the train.

“The Ballroom hasn’t changed all that much from what I remember. I love coming here.”

Alice Beswick, 90, from Priory Court care home in Lytham, added: “It’s very special that it’s 119 years old because I remember what it was like as a child.

“I haven’t been here for years but it’s great here and beautiful.

“We have a lot of trips out but this is something different.”

Kate Shane, general manager of Blackpool Tower, said: “One of the best bits about my job is I meet a lot of people who love Blackpool Tower and the Tower Ballroom and these people have so much passion for it.”

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