Winning wheelchair dancers on a roll

The Wheel Stones, Derwent Edge, by Neil Theasby
The Wheel Stones, Derwent Edge, by Neil Theasby
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STRICTLY speaking when it comes to dance this team is a class act.

These are the members of Sheffield’s Wheels in Motion who are taking the world of wheelchair dancing by storm.

The team, which meets on Saturday mornings at St Mary’s Church Hall, Packhorse Lane, High Green, was only formed in February.

But they are already winning national titles.

Trained by June Higgins and her daughter Nicola – Yorkshire’s only Wheelchair Dance Sport Association qualified coaches – they recently travelled to Weymouth to take part in the UK Wheelchair Dancing Championships.

And using new dance chairs they returned victorious.

But as June explained it was nerves all the way.

She said: “The special dance chairs we ordered using money raised at our Danceathon were not ready as the factory was running behind due to orders for the forthcoming Paralympics.

“With just a week to go to the championships things were looking bleak. But then a phone call lifted our spirits, the chairs were to be delivered.

“We had just two lessons to get used to these super chairs. But the dancers were determined and this showed in the quality of the last lesson.”

On the day of the competition dancers donned fabulous outfits before they took to the floor in the magnificent ballroom.

June recalls: “Everyone was nervous as they took to the floor for the opening parade but they looked fabulous.”

The team netted a treasure-trove of medals in both the duo section, where two people in wheelchairs dance together, and the combi section where a person in a chair dances with a standing partner.

In the duo section fourth place went to Amy Bray and Ian McLeod and fellow team members Neil and Natalie Lakin were named UK Champions after a stunning performance.

In the combi section, Angela Bennett and Ian McLeod danced their way to fourth place, third went to Moira and Amy Bray and Nicola Higgins and Neil Lakin did so well they were named UK Champions.

June said: “They all danced superbly and I was the proudest coach there.

“I couldn’t have asked anything more of them, they pulled it out of the bag when it was needed. You can imagine the journey home, we were still singing We Are The Champions as we got off the coach in Sheffield at midnight.”

Wheels in Motion have now been invited to represent Great Britain in The World Championships in Holland next year.

June says it’s now back to the dance floor for more practice, new routines and more fundraising.

n To get involved in wheelchair dancing please call June on 0114 2845738.