Blackpool schoolgirl could be crowned next World Irish Dancing Champion
A Blackpool schoolgirl has qualified for the World Irish Championships in Dublin after fighting off competition from 28 other regional champions.
13-year-old Katie Squire, of Newton Drive Blackpool, came fourth out of 35 youngsters in the North West Regional Irish Dancing qualifiers competition in Oldham in December 2019.
The Baines High School year 9 pupil was the only Fylde coast qualifier, and beat 28 other girls from the region.
Now she will don her wig and a new dancing dress in a bid to become the World Irish Dancing Champion in Dublin in April.
Mum Julie Squire said: "Katie has only been dancing for around five years, so she started a lot later than most of the other dancing champions.
"To get to where she has now in such a short amount of time is just amazing."
Katie was inspired to begin Irish dancing lessons just before her ninth birthday, after watching dancing videos on YouTube.
She decided she wanted to learn, so she sought out her own lessons on the internet and now trains with the Egan Academy at Plungington Community Centre in Preston for six hours a week.
Julie continued: "She is so dedicated to it, she practices on her own for at least two hours a day on top of her classes.
"It isn't just about the dancing, she does lots of core exercises every day as well, she gets up early before school to do sit-ups.
"She takes it all in her stride, I think I probably get more nervous during her competitions than she does.
"She just makes us all so proud, when we found out she had qualified she burst into tears, then I did too. It was amazing."