He has danced since a teenager and at 93 it seems nothing can stop Pierre Gutsell.
Not even the end of the long running afternoon dance club in Bexhill he and other members attended every Wednesday at St Mary Magdalene church hall.
The ballroom dance sessions have come to a close but the group is determined to carry on and the Nobby Clarke Ballroom Dance Club will take place every Wednesday from 3-5pm in the West St Leonards Community Centre (where the primary school used to be), Bexhill Road, St Leonards - entrance and large car park in Filsham Road.
Pierre is keen to encourage other people to take up dancing and without doubt he’s a great advertisement for this activity at any age.
He began at 18 with private lessons and made sure he had his dancing shoes all through the war but didnt get serious with his passion until he retired at 62.
During the years in between he experienced much of the joy dancing has to offer, such as visiting in Calais a secret turret at the top of a spiral staircase where brave French men and women would go during the occupation. During this time all dance was banned so they danced under fear of being discovered and taken away to the death camps, according to Pierre. As Pierre served through the war with the Royal Army Service Corps he took his civilian shoes everywhere so he could dance and saw some of the great venues around Britain, such as the Nottingham Palais de Danse, the Rialto ballroom in Liverpool, Green’s Playhouse in Glasgow, the Hammersmith Palais, as well as stunning dance halls abroad. And he met his wife in Armentieres at a Sunday dance just after the war, although she was not as keen on tripping the light fantastic as he.
It is exhilerating. It keeps me fit mentally and physically. I would recommend it to anybody.
A resident now at Mais House, in Hastings Road, Pierre shows no sign of letting up and apart from attending the Wednesday sessions he dances at the home and also teaches steps to others.
He commented: “It is exhilerating. It keeps me fit mentally and physically. I would recommend it to anybody. Dancing is a marvellous hobby for people to take up. It is an exceptionally good hobby and I wish more people would take it up.”
On behalf of those members who attended the St Mary Magdalene ballroom sessions, Pierre would like to express his profound appreciation to Angela and Alan Bula who contributed so much to the well-being of the club. Sadly Alan passed away at the weekend, as did another stalwart of the dance club, John Stevens, who attended with his wife Pat. Also a great part of the club have been Christina and Denis Lucey who started it.
For more information about sessions call 01424 843193.