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Tributes pour in for dance leader

Carol Brooks, founder and principal of Fleetwood's morris dancing troupe - Fleetwood Royalettes.
Carol Brooks, founder and principal of Fleetwood's morris dancing troupe - Fleetwood Royalettes.

Poignant tributes have been paid to the founder of Fleetwood’s much-loved dance troupe The Royalettes after she died in hospital.

Carol Brooks, of Styan Street, set up the girls’ morris dancing troupe in 1986 and through her guidance, they became not only a successful competitive force across the country but also a valued mainstay of public events in the town.

Award winning dancers from the Fleetwood Royalettes morris dancing club with their trainer and founder Carol Brooks after winning top honours at the North West Regional Championships at Pontin's, St. Anne's in 2002..

Award winning dancers from the Fleetwood Royalettes morris dancing club with their trainer and founder Carol Brooks after winning top honours at the North West Regional Championships at Pontin's, St. Anne's in 2002..

And since retiring from the troupe in 2003, her legacy continues because the dance troupe is still going strong today, having seen many hundreds of Fleetwood girls involved over the past 32 years.

Carol, who had battled a number of health problems in recent years, died of kidney failure in Blackpool Victoria on December 28 at the age of 71.

She had been speaking to loved ones at the hospital just minutes before she died.

Her funeral takes place at St Peter’s Church on Lord Street, Fleetwood, tomorrow (Thursday) at 1pm, followed by a ceremony at Fleetwood Cemetery at 2pm and then a reception at Fleetwood Conservative Club on Lowther Road.

People who knew Carol are welcome to attend all of these to pay their respects.

Daughter Lorraine Fordham, 50, said: “We have had hundreds of cards sent to us since people heard the news and we want to thank everyone of those people, they have been so kind.

“Mum taught so many girls in the town and she knew so many people, not just dancers from years ago but the parents of the dancers and but even the children of her former dancers.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness from those who knew her.

“I know a lot of people were shocked and saddened when they heard about her.”

Carol was born and bred in Fleetwood and had just celebrated her 51st wedding anniversary with husband George, who also grew up in the town and was a big supporter of Carol when she ran the dance troupe.

The couple had three children, David Brooks, 52, Lorraine Fordham, 50 and Kelly Blundell, 42, three grandchildren - Glen, Ryan and Brandon and two great grandchildren, Callum and Ella.

Back in 2010, a reunion of former Royalettes dancers was staged at Fleetwood Conservative Club.

More than 160 of her former pupils attended the event.

For years the Royalettes have been an ever present force at the town’s big events, such as Carnival Day and Tram Sunday, brightening up proceedings with their colourful and skilful dance routines.

In 2003 Cheryl Rickard took on the baton from Carol and led the troupe, although sadly Cheryl herself died after a serious illness back in 2012.

Since then, joint principals of the troupe have been Shirley Farrington and Sammy Williams.

Shirley said: “There wouldn’t be a Royalettes without Carol.

“Both of my daughters started at the Royalettes when Carol was in charge and they always respected her, it was like a family.

“I will be at the funeral and I know a lot of dancers from the old days will be going too.”