THOUSANDS of tap dancers raised thousands of pounds in memory of a Huddersfield legend.
Dancers from 18 West Yorkshire dance schools took part in the 15th annual Roy’s Relay Tapathon yesterday to raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
The event, at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax, was a six-hour relay of near non-stop tap performances in honour of Roy.
Scholes-born Mr Castle – a dancer, singer, musician and comedian – died from lung cancer in 1994, aged 62, despite being a non-smoker.
The Tapathon was founded in 1997 by a number of Roy’s local friends, who had danced alongside him in the 1940s and 1950s.
The last 14 events have raised over £176,000 for the charity which funds research together with patient and carer support.
This year’s fundraiser was the last to be organised by Roy’s friends before the reins are handed over to Janet Austin Tappers, of Brighouse.
Performers from toddlers to pensioners tapped in time to a variety of music from show tunes, to pop and rock songs.
Skilled solo dancers wowed the crowds in between the main performances with up to 100 people.
Huddersfield dance schools taking part in the performances included Barbara Peters School of Dance, Pam Strickland Tappers, Donna Clare School of Dance, Bernadette Heys School of Dance, from Marsden, and Adele Taylor School of Dance.
The Tapathon featured Karen Binns Stage School, of Elland, and Elwyn School of Dance, Brighouse.
In the audience was Roy’s widow and lung cancer campaigner, Fiona Castle.
Mrs Castle said: “It’s amazing.
“Roy would be absolutely thrilled to see this. It’s great to see his friends still supporting the charity after all this time.
Fiona, a former professional dancer, added: “One year they got me up dancing but they didn’t ask this year!”
Claire O’Connor, daughter of Barbara Peters and founder of Baby Ballet, a toddlers’ dance school which took part, said: “The children absolutely loved it. It’s a fantastic experience and it’s lovely to get the whole school dancing.
“We’ve supported the Roy Castle Fund from the beginning and we’ve helped keep the fundraising alive.”
Her daughter Claudia, 4, added: “It was wonderful. I had a lovely time dancing with my friends.”
For more information on The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation visit: www.roycastle.org or call: 01502 547 200.