Imagine the scene… a naval captain, the naval dockyard at Rosyth, some Jimmy Shand records and Scottish dancing in the Mess. Then came a move to a new home in Sevenoaks. A room in a house was found for dancing, add a dozen friends keen to learn to dance and the Sevenoaks Reel Club was born in 1955.
Soon, bigger premises were needed as more and more people joined the Club. A school hall was hired. Eventually, classes were held twice a week, one for beginners and one for more experienced dancers – by invitation only!
Enthusiastic amateurs were the teachers; the programme of dances became more ambitious as the years passed. Confidence increased and a group would attend the London Branch Balls in prestigious venues such as the Hyde Park Hotel. Ah, those grand occasions when everyone dressed up.
For many years Hogmanay dances were held locally, as was a summer dance. Saturday night dances at Plaxtol Village Hall were always crowded (woe betide anyone who overspent the catering budget as the Treasurer kept a strong hold on the finances).
When we needed to vacate our regular venue at Kippington Church Hall to allow for rebuilding works, we were fortunately able to use the studio at nearby West Heath School, where Princess Diana practiced her ballet steps! We returned to Kippington after it reopened and that was our venue up until we closed in November 2018.
Our 60th Ball was a great success in November 2015 but sadly, as the years subsequently rolled by, the number of members declined, the club started making losses, we were unable to recruit new members, we had very few visitors and the number of people able to lead the weekly sessions reduced to one couple.
In the light of this we unanimously agreed that the club was no longer viable. This was very sad after 63 years as it had given a great deal of pleasure to so many over numerous years.
We met at the Kippington_Church_Centre
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4th February 2017
7th November 2015
Danced by Sevenoaks Reel Club men at one of their Tuesday club nights.
The club is non profit making and donates to local charities from the money raised through raffles.
Over the 2016-17 season Sevenoaks Reel Club raised £200 for local charitable purposes.
The year's chosen charity was Age UK Tonbridge.
Age UK runs Day Centres where older people can enjoy some companionship and activities, a cooked lunch and various other services. Some members of the Club agreed to offer a dance demonstration in July 2017 to users of the Centre, after which a cheque was presented to Sandra, the Centre Manager, by the Club Chairman.
Sandra thanked us warmly on behalf of the audience and said that she intended to put the donation towards an outing for the Centre users.