On Thursday September 3, Roffey Friendship Club were delighted to welcome a very special guest to their fortnightly meeting – Amelia Knight, who is the under 12 Irish Dance World Champion 2015.
Amelia came along and performed three dances - a soft shoe routine and two heavy reels with hard shoes - and was hugely appreciated by the 25 or so people who were there. She looked absolutely stunning in her costume dress of red and gold.
Amelia has previously won other huge national and international Championships and is hoping to retain her title in Brighton in 2016. She first saw Irish Dancing on the TV and was so enthralled that she began to go to classes.
She had a brief dabble with ballet but soon returned to Irish Dance. She trains at the Ace Academy in Broadfield, Crawley and the level of her commitment is illustrated by the amount of time she spends training each week – seven hours.
Club members were delighted that Amelia and her younger brother, James (a keen rugby player with Horsham Rugby Club), accompanied by their grandfather, took the time to go round and speak to everyone individually, so that she could answer all their questions.
Roffey Friendship Club was formed in September 2014, following a chance visit by a lady to the Parish Office who wanted a photocopy done of a letter.
An hour and a half and a cup of tea later, between the lady and Parish Council staff, the idea of the club was born, for ladies and gentlemen over 60.
The aim of the club is to do what it says on the tin – to provide friendship and to help to alleviate the loneliness and isolation that sadly, some older people feel - and it’s growing from strength to strength.
The club meets on alternate Thursdays from 2pm until about 4pm at Roffey Millennium Hall. Funding for the club was kick started with a grant from North Horsham Parish Council and each session is charged at £2 per head for meeting costs with the balance going in the kitty for future outings.
For your money you get tea and delicious home-made cakes and on a couple of occasions we have offered a simple lunch. The entertainments range from quizzes, to horse racing, to Irish music sessions, to talks from outside organisations, such as Horsham Museum and the Fire Brigade, to a Tea Dance or to just sitting nattering and getting to know each other.
The club has been on a number of outings – to the Capital to see We’ll Meet Again, to the Bird of Prey Centre at Hilliers Nursery and last Christmas we took the Club out for a Christmas Lunch.
Additional contributions to outing costs may be asked for but these are kept to within affordable limits. Transport is provided where necessary.
The next meeting is on Thursday September 17 at 2pm and you can just turn up and be sure of a warm and friendly welcome.
If you would like to know more, do give Nikki a ring at the North Horsham Parish Council Office at Roffey Millennium Hall on 01403 750786 or pop in and see her.
Report and picture contributed by Sue Kemp, parish clerk.