A TEENAGE boy has won a top ballet competition.
James Buckley, 13, found it tough at school in his early days because of his interest in dancing.
But now the Greetland lad is celebrating after winning the South and West Yorkshire Ballet Championships.
James defeated 13 other young dancers – all of them girls – at the event in the Cockburn College of Arts in Leeds.
Mum Vanessa Buckley, 38, said: “I’m very proud of him for winning. He’s so determined and he works so hard – it was good to see it pay off.”
James trains for four hours every Wednesday and Friday, proving his prowess at the ballet barre doing warm-up exercises, and for six hours on Saturdays at Strickland Cook Theatre School on Dundas Street in Huddersfield town centre.
Vanessa said: “He’s been going there since he was three. He’s always performed from the moment he could walk. It was just a case of finding him the right place.”
But she says James found early days at school tough.
Vanessa said: “He didn’t have any friends and they called him ‘ballet boy’.”
James responded by devising an anti-bullying campaign which eventually spread to other schools in Halifax.
Vanessa said: “When he was on his own at lunchtimes he was trying to find a way to get other children to understand what it’s like to be called names.
“He designed ‘Look for Loneliness’ playground signs to remind children to look for other children who didn’t have friends. He wrote 16 different stories about bullying – one of which was about his own experience. He sent the packs to other primary schools.”