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World War One Tea Dance at the Nicholson Institute in Leek

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 28, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • Eric the musician plays music at the WW1 Tea Dance at the Nicholson Institute in Leek.

  • Gillian Cumberbatch with her granddaughter Beatrice Thorpe, aged 14 months, and Libby Haigh with her sister Rebekah Cumberbatch, mum of Beatrice.

  • Rebekah Cumberbatch with her daughterBeatrice Thorpe.

  • Chris Thompson, from Spout Coffee Shop in Leek, all dressed up to serve refreshments at the Tea Dance. Inset, Eric on the organ.

  • Visitors to the Nicholson Institute enjoy light refreshments before taking to the dance floor at the Tea Dance.

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Around 50 people enjoyed a tea dance which was hosted to commemorate 100 years of the start of the First World War.

The event, at the Nicholson Institute in Leek, was part of a large programme of commemorative events entitled 'Leek 1914'.

Visitors to the Stockwell Street venue were treated to light refreshments served by staff from Spout Coffee Shop in Leek, as well as a dance with music provided by Eric on the accordion.

Students from the Meadows Special School were among the guests, who all attended for free and were also given the opportunity to take a look around the First World War exhibition at the venue.

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Museum curator Maria Killoran said: "Today has been a very well run event providing an opportunity for the older generation to get out of their homes and meet people."

Alan Fernandez, one of those enjoying the tea dance, said: "Today has been a nice connection for us as I met my wife through the military.

"I was an ex-serviceman and she was in the women's RAF when we met 53 years ago, and are still together.

"My uncle was killed in Iraq and my wife's great uncle also served in the war. So things like this are important to remember those who have served and especially those who have fallen."

The programme of events for 'Leek 1914' has been made possible with a £74,600 grant for the town from the Heritage Lottery Fund which was bid for by Leek Town Council in conjunction with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, local schools, the Friends of Nicholson War Memorial, county library services, and the Leek branch of the Royal British Legion.

Other events still to come include summer holiday workshops; guided history walks and tours of the Nicholson War Memorial; heritage open days and a large scale 'First Mile To War' parade through Leek on Saturday, September 13, at 2pm, which will replicate the first mile walked to war by Leek C Battery in 1914.

There is also the First World War exhibition at The Nicholson Museum.

A second First World War Tea Dance will also take place at the Nicholson Institute on September 10, which will again be a free ticket event.

For further details go online to www.leek1914.org.

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