Swindon Dancers Triumph at World Championships

Swindon has a new reason to celebrate as the talented dancers from Farrell School of Irish Dance have returned victorious from the 2024 World Irish Dancing Association (WIDA) World Championships in Liège, Belgium. Under the expert guidance of Clare Crocker, the team of 18 dancers, who train at Grange Drive Community Centre in Stratton St Margaret, have made their mark on the global stage.

Courtney Ringham, a 23-year-old from Pinehurst, dazzled the judges and clinched the under-23 WIDA World Champion title. Overwhelmed with joy, Courtney expressed her gratitude: “I can’t believe it, I have no words. It honestly means the world to me to have this title, and I’d like to thank Clare, my teacher, for always believing in me and pushing me to never give up on my dreams. I’d also like to thank my mum, who without fail comes to every single competition and always ensures I do my absolute best.”

Kerry Maskell, 39, from Nine Elms, achieved the Senior Ladies WIDA World Champion title. Reflecting on her win, Kerry said, “It was a heart-stopping moment realising I’d made the podium. To then go on and actually win takes it to a whole new level. I love Irish dancing, and for any dancer to win the worlds is a huge achievement. Thank you to my mum, dad, husband, and two boys for cheering me on.”

Young Jaycee-Mae Jones, just eight years old from Oakhurst, secured second place in the under-9 category. Her excitement was palpable as she shared, “To come second in the world in such a tough competition is a great achievement. I’m excited to work hard and hopefully win next year.”

The competition saw participation from dancers worldwide, including Australia, USA, China, and many European countries. The journey to this prestigious event was paved with rigorous training, attending classes up to three times a week, and private lessons.

Clare Crocker, the dedicated leader of the Farrell School of Irish Dance, praised her students’ hard work and commitment: “Irish dancing isn’t easy by any stretch and as these girls have shown it takes years and years of training to even enable them to walk onto that worlds stage.”

The dancers’ journey was also supported by the Friends of Farrell School Committee, who organised fundraising events such as displays during St. Patrick’s Day weekend and their annual Irish Night.

Congratulations to the Farrell School of Irish Dance for putting Swindon on the map with their outstanding achievements!

Image credit: Scott Media


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