The mum of two young dancers has spoken of her pride – after they climbed on stage in front of 20,000 people.
Not fazed by revellers at last weekend’s Switch-On, the biggest night in Blackpool’s calendar, Alice, seven, and Lucy, five, presented Dame Barbara Windsor with flowers.
They were picked by organisers because they go to Norbreck Primary School, where the 79-year-old actress attended as a Second World War evacuee, and share her passion of dancing.
Dame Barbara, best known for playing Peggy Mitchell in Eastenders and starring in the Carry On films, famously got into showbiz after being sent to dance lessons in the resort as a schoolgirl.
Alice and Lucy’s proud mum Zoe Tarpey, of Lockerby Avenue in Anchorsholme, said: “I’m so proud. They didn’t seem daunted by it at all. They just went out and did it.”
Zoe, 40, emailed Visit Blackpool after hearing the hunt was on for schoolgirls with a dancing connection, and received a call just days before last Friday’s event, which launched another season of dazzling Illuminations.
They were given VIP passes and enjoyed watching the show’s other acts, including The Vamps and Diversity, before climbing on stage and handed Dame Barbara a bunch of flowers.
“When Barbara came on stage, she crouched down and asked if they would like to stay and watch her switch the lights, and they said yes,” Zoe said.
“She said the girls are really pretty, and when Diversity came off the stage, every one of them gave them a high five. The girls thought that was amazing!”
The girls, in Year One and Year Three respectively, attend Starmaker Performing Arts Academy every week, where they enjoy taking part in dancing, singing, and acting.
Their upbringing so far reflects that of Dame Barbara, who came to the resort as an seven-year-old, when her London home was bombed.
Speaking at last Friday’s Switch-On, she told the crowd: “I was evacuated to some wonderful people called the Norths. Florence and Ernest North.
“They wrote to my mum and said, ‘Can we send Barbara to dancing school because she gets up to mischief?’
“What happened was, I went to that school, I got a little certificate and I came back with a note that said, ‘She’s a born show off, let her carry on.’
“I did and I’ve been carrying on and carrying on since.
“What I’m saying is, ladies and gentlemen, is that it’s all because of Blackpool.”