top of page

Dance Insight with Bryan Allen

Navigating News with an Independent Eye


People wonder what makes the magic of Blackpool, the world's First and Foremost Festival of Dancing. Well, it's many things, often different for each individual. From my early days when I first met local couples in the Birmingham area and subsequently befriended one of them, these past years of contact have always centered around Blackpool.

Following her death and learning of her wish for the hearse to pass by the Winter Gardens because it held such significance to her, I realised just how important the Blackpool Dance Festival had been to her. Below, please find the piece I wrote at the request of her family, which was read by the Celebrant at her funeral just a few days ago (4th March).


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I first met Pat Prince, as she was then known, in the late 1950s. She and her husband, Bob, were quite prominent in the competitive ranks in the Birmingham and Midlands area, while I was just beginning my journey in competitive dancing. Throughout those years, I witnessed and admired the grace and elegance they exuded. Even after I moved to London in 1960, we often crossed paths at major competitions, albeit less frequently as Pat and Bob had established a highly successful dance school in the Erdington area of Birmingham. One of my fondest memories is of Pat dancing the Waltz to her favourite tune, "Alice Blue Gown," which remained her all-time favourite, in the Winter Gardens Ballroom, where the world's greatest competitions, including the British Open Championships, take place.

As time passed, Pat relocated to Blackpool, no longer actively competing in the Blackpool Dance Festival events. Nonetheless, we remained in touch. Whenever she entered the ballroom, she would inevitably find Ann and me, knowing the seats we had occupied since 1974, and engage in conversation. The introduction of the British National Championships in November each year, focusing on domestic couples as opposed to the bustling May week, provided us with more opportunities to spend time together, reminiscing and conversing, sometimes over a cup of coffee. Even last year, meeting up with Pat was an eagerly anticipated tradition that had endured over many years.

Now, that thread has been broken, but memories persist, as I'm sure they will for many of you here today.

So, dear Pat, thank you for the memories, and may you rest in peace.



Breaking News:

bottom of page