Cou­ple foot tapped their way to love

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

As the Toko­roa Scot­tish Coun­try Dance Club pre­pares to cel­e­brates its 40th an­niver­sary there’s one story that’s per­haps more sig­nif­i­cant than the rest.

It’s that of found­ing mem­bers Graeme and Genny Hall.

De­spite nei­ther hav­ing strong Scot­tish roots or com­ing from danc­ing back­grounds, it was the orig­i­nal Toko­roa club, founded in 1955, that brought them to­gether.

‘‘In 1955 there were a lot of Scot­tish fit­ters and turn­ers who came to live in Toko­roa to es­tab­lish Kin­leith Mill and so the orig­i­nal club was started,’’ Genny said.

‘‘I left school in 1954 and it was in the win­ter of 1955 when I joined the club be­cause there was a Scot­tish girl I was friendly with who dragged me along. It was just some­thing to do.’’

‘‘It was a Scot­tish guy who dragged me along as well. We’ve been here from the start more or less,’’ Graeme added.

‘‘I was work­ing out in the for­est and he asked ‘have you ever done Scot­tish coun­try danc­ing?’.’’

‘‘I went blank and said ‘I don’t know about danc­ing?’ but he said ‘nah nah come along, it’s great’ so I did and it was,’’ he laughed.

He said the club thrived in its early years but as con­tracts ended at the mill, many of the Scots be­gan to leave town which saw the demise of the club.

‘‘When that hap­pened there was noth­ing else to do so we thought let’s get mar­ried,’’ Graeme laughed.

But as their love blos­somed they also kept their love of Scot­tish danc­ing alive.

It was their danc­ing at a Christ­mas so­cial in 1977 that led to the club be­ing re­born.

‘‘A pipe band player, who’d been danc­ing since she was four, came to live here and dur­ing the play­ing of a Gay Gor­dons at a Christ­mas so­cial Graeme and I got up to dance and she watched us and said ‘oh you do Scot­tish danc­ing’,’’ Genny said.

‘‘She talked to the pipe band mem­bers and un­der that um­brella we started a new club which has been go­ing ever since.’’

Now in their 80s they said they both still love danc­ing and have no plans to stop any time soon.

‘‘I think we’ll have to pass on when we’ll stop. The usual trick is you fall over or you die,’’ Graeme laughed.

A 40th an­niver­sary dance will be held for past and present mem­bers on Satur­day, Au­gust 12 from 5.30pm in the Catholic Hall in Mos­sop Rd. Adults $20, spec­ta­tors and ju­niors $5.

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