Upminster woman celebrates 90th birthday at Havering's tea dances
PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 October 2019
A 90-year-old woman who has been attending Havering's tea dances for 25 years celebrated her birthday on the dance floor with friends and family.
Cissie Beddall attended Havering's first tea dance in 1994 and celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday, October 3 and Friday, October 4 with her friends in New Windmill Hall in St Mary's Lane.
"I'm on my own as I'm a widow, so going to the tea dances gives me some company," said Cissie.
"When you're on your own it's so nice to go out somewhere. Everyone is so nice here.
"I've made plenty of friends."
Cissie said learned to dance at the age of seven in Canning Town, where she experienced bombing of the city during the Second World War.
She moved to Dagenham and met her husband Henry Beddall in a dancing club.
They were married for 42 years before he died in 1991.
Cissie told the Recorder that the tea dances haven't changed much over the years.
"At the first one we had about two dozen people," she said.
"It gradually increased over the years. It's gotten better and better.
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"We do a sequence dance, ball room, Latin dancing and a bit of a line dance.
"We also get people in their 20s and 30s - it's a real mixture."
The 90-year-old especially enjoys Latin dancing and her favourite dance is the Rhumba.
"I do my own gardening and everything. I never get out breath when dancing I just keep going."
One of the organisers Rita Sinclair said: "Cissie has danced all her life and she is still very good at it.
"She has many pairs of dancing shoes, high heels, lower heels and colours to co - ordinate with all of her outfits.
Cissie has suffered much heartache during her life and has conquered severe health issues herself.
Always, dancing has been her lifeline to come back to.
"Even when forbidden to dance by doctors, she would still attend the tea dance to join her friends and to, with much irritation, watch the others dancing.
"These tea dances are more than just an afternoon out. They are a vital part of the community for people who love dance and music to come together and make friends."
Havering sports development team organises the weekly Tea Dance.