LAPPIN THINGS UP; A cash boost brought a jig of joy from an award-winning team of Irish dancers.
The 60-strong group of girls from Bellshill in Lanarkshire, have just returned from the All England Irish Dance Championship where they bagged an array of prizes and trophies for Scotland.
The school is run by Ellen Lappin, 48, from Uddingston.
She started the school several years ago, with just 10 pupils.
Ellen said: "There has been a lot of interest in Irish dancing in the last few years, probably because of the hit musical Riverdance.
"That means the number of people who want to learn has really soared.
"This year, we managed to take 60 people - aged between four and 20 - to London to compete in the National Championships.
"Next year we want to be in a position to take even more."
But the school has a problem - shortage of funds.
And that's where I came in with my pounds 300 donation.
Ellen said: "The children are all from different backgrounds. There is the odd one whose parents can afford to send them away, but, for most of them, it is a real struggle to be there.
"We have a team of senior dancers who went out dancing on St Patrick's Day to raise funds. And some of the parents do fund-raising for us.
"It means a lot to the children to be able to achieve something and to enter a competition doing something they enjoy."
The school has changed the world of one little eight-year-old girl, Mairead McMahon. Mairead's mother, Margaret, wrote to me telling me of the group's financial plight and how much it meant to her daughter to go to the competition.
She said: "It's given Mairead so much more confidence.
"She has made loads of new friends since she joined.
"She has wanted to dance since she was five years old, but it is an expensive hobby. She loves dancing and the fact that she's good at it helps, too - last weekend she won six firsts and two trophies.
"It has helped her deal with people.
"When Mairead started school, she had problems.
"Her teachers would say that she was always trying to please people, but that she had very little confidence in herself."
And Margaret revealed: "Since Mairead started at the dancing school, that has all changed.
"The thing which makes the school special is the input from the teachers and parents.
"We realise how important it is for the children.
"There are a lot of children in the group who come from a background of unemployment, yet the parents don't want them to miss out.
"The contribution from Penny Love was absolutely wonderful."
"Hopefully, it will help us win even more trophies next year."
I'm only too glad to help, girls, and I look forward to hearing of more winning exploits.
Ski's the limit ..
A youth group from Drumchapel in Glasgow, are off on the piste.
The newly-formed Drumchapel Youth Ski Group is aiming to give youngsters in one of the city's most deprived areas the chance to practice their hobby abroad.
Lindsay Wards, 14, is the group secretary.
In her letter, Lindsay told me: "We are trying to get money together to go abroad. The skiing is better in Austria and France, and it's a chance to find out about a different culture.
"We've had lots of fund-raising events and donations from the Prince's Trust and the Drumchapel Initiative.
"Penny Love's pounds 300 donation was very generous - we'll send her a postcard from Europe!"
My magic wand is waved for ..
I have sent pounds 100 to help 11-year-old muscular dystrophy victim Steven Grant, whose family and friends are busy raising funds to buy a special van.
Mitchell School of Drama in the West End of Glasgow is getting pounds 100 to help young kids get the opportunity to act.
I have sent pounds 50 to Coltness Senior Citizens Friday Club in Wishaw, to help with their Christmas dinner.
I am helping John Ogilvie Handicapped Club, Denny, go to the Christmas panto with a donation.
Eadar Glinn Residential Home in Oban, is getting pounds 50 from me for their residents' comfort fund.
The Scullion family from Motherwell, get pounds 200 to help attend a special family day in Milton Keynes, where they will learn more about their son Kevin's rare bone and blood disease.
Elcap, East Lothian, an organisation for the care and protection for handicapped people, gets pounds 100 help towards their respite house.
I have sent pounds 100 to Tobermory Play-group on the Isle of Mull.
Friends of the Glen, Thornliebank, Glasgow, get pounds 100.
As do Craigshill Good Neighbour Network, Livingston.
There's pounds 50 to the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh - requested by Diane Bannerman, whose dad sadly died there.
I am sending pounds 200 to the Fire Station Project, Glasgow, a training for independent living project for young, single, homeless people.
I have sent a pounds 50 donation to Drongan Nursery School, Ayrshire; and to Glassford Playgroup, Lanarkshire.
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Oct 14, 1996|
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