Jenny Bradley, 1930-2023

Jenny Bradley

Branch Award, 2007

 When Mrs. Heggarty of The Grange, the largest of the three houses in the village of Ault Hucknall, invited a demonstration team of Scottish Country Dancers to a party she can have had no inkling of where it would lead for one of her guests. Jenny, who would live in that tiny village on the edge of Derbyshire for all but two of her ninety-three years, was present at that party, and captivated by the dancing.

A scholarship to Chesterfield Girls’ Grammar School and teacher training at Matlock had led to the Headship of Devonshire Infants’ School in Sutton in Ashfield until it closed and she became a supply teacher.

And then she was asked to the party at The Grange…

She joined a W.I. Scottish dance class in nearby Rowthorne before moving on to Mrs. Beckett’s class in Mansfield, and her first experience of teaching dance came after Mrs. Beckett’s retirement from the `Mansfield Ladies’. Along with her great friend Joan Watkinson, later to become Branch Chairman, she joined the RSCDS Nottingham Branch and trained for her Teacher’s Certificate under Margaret Donaldson. Miss Milligan was her examiner for the Full Certificate, and she paused before signing it…

MM: “Is that your baptismal name?”

JB: “Yes, Miss Milligan.” Indeed it was; she was never a Jennifer!

Skill and spatial awareness on the dance floor allied to mental agility led her on to devise her own dances, for which she has long been recognised, perhaps the best-known being the 4 x 24-bar reel `Nottingham Lace’ which is danced all over the world, and the strathspey `James Senior of St. Andrews’, published in Book 42 of the RSCDS collection. She was a major contributor to the collection `Nottingham 10.30’ and her own local publications include the `Oaks of Sherwood’ book, the `Culzean Castle’ collection and the `Gauldry Group’.  After over a quarter of a century as Principal Teacher at Nottingham Branch she was presented with a Branch Award before retiring at the end of the 2006-7 season, and received a letter of thanks from Irene Bennett, then Chairman of the RSCDS.

For many years Jenny and Joan attended RSCDS Summer School in St. Andrews, always following it up with a Scottish holiday. In her retirement Jenny continued to take an active part in the annual local tradition of well-dressing as well as making clothes, knitting jumpers on four needles and solving Sudoku problems until failing eyesight, old age and infirmity took their toll, and she died peacefully in her sleep at the end of February 2023.

Her funeral, in the ancient and intriguing Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist, Ault Hucknall was well attended by her family, her carers and members of the Scottish Country Dance and well-dressing communities.

David Page

Annual Dance 2022

What better way to start the ball rolling towards the 22-23 season than to bring a stop-start year to a close with our first Annual Dance since 2019?  The prospect of an evening of box and fiddle with Ian Robertson on accordion and Rebecca and her fiddle drew an appreciative audience, many of whom had danced with us in 2019, and all the local airts an’ pairts were well represented, including Leicester, Leeds, Newark, Chesterfield and North-East Derbyshire.  Understandably we were a little thinner on the floor than in previous years, but the programme, the music and MCs Elizabeth Gull and John Aitken kept the floor well occupied almost until `Auld Lang Syne’.  We look forward to welcoming friends old and new to a fresh programme of socials in the new season.

David Page

DSC_1688 (2)

More photos can be found in the gallery

ASCDS 40th Anniversary Festival 2022

The global pandemic prevented the ASCDS 40th Anniversary Festival (Association of Scottish Country Dance Societies) from taking place as it should have done in 2020, and then again in 2021.  So, it was a great relief that the present situation allowed it to be celebrated on 7th May 2022 at the Retford Oaks Academy.

Although numbers attending were down on previous years, the ten societies that attended from all around the East Midlands enjoyed meeting up with old friends from near and far and dancing together the twelve massed dances that we had all been practising in our own groups.  Nottingham RSCDS Branch took a team of nine dancers, together with two spectators to take part, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  A special thank you to Tony Payne for guiding us through the dances at four special practices to ensure that we were all well prepared to enjoy the event on the day.  The spectacle of 110 dancers lined up on the dance floor, the men in kilts, the ladies in white dresses and tartan sashes ready to dance to the great music of Chris Dewhurst and his Band is very inspiring.  Dancing to live music makes such a difference – it’s very thrilling and such a joy.

Five of the Scottish Dance Societies presented a demonstration dance between some of the pairs of massed dances, and these were enjoyed by everyone, also giving the chance of a welcome five minutes’ rest for tired feet!  Our Branch demonstration team danced a solo entitled ‘The Best of the Seasons’ – a compilation of the strathspey, The Summer Meeting from Book 48, and the jig, The First Rain of Spring from Book 49 which was very well-received by the audience.

A video of the dance can be seen here

There was an evening dance later for those who had the energy left, again dancing to the wonderful music of Chris Dewhurst and his Band!

Elizabeth Gull

ASCDS 7.5.22

The branch team at the 40th ASCDS Festival – May 2022

September 2021

What a joy it was to gather at Lowdham Village Hall on Saturday 25th September for an actual dance, rather than trying to dance round the furniture in our homes during Zoom classes!

27 Dancers arrived from various corners of Notts and beyond, to be treated to a free evening. Many appreciated the reduced number of dances on the programme, since we are rather rusty after the lockdowns.

We are grateful to “Blinkbonny”, also known as David and Debbie, for supplying us with “live” music – they’ve obviously been practising hard!

The programme included such old faithfuls as “Good Hearted Glasgow” and “Maxwell’s Rant”, whilst there was plenty to challenge us with the likes of “The Two Gray Cats” and “The Nurseryman”.  ‘Set and Link for 3 Couples’ in “Rodney’s Rant” offered its usual entertainment!

Our thanks to Elizabeth and John for acting as MC and to all who helped in any way.

A good night was had by all!

Summer 2021

In August members of the branch met in person for the first time in nearly eighteen months. This garden social was held to enable members to catch up over coffee with fellow dancers and to discuss a plan of action for a return to dancing.

There was an overwhelming desire to return to dancing and members discussed how this could be done in such a way that they could feel as safe as possible. Following this discussion the branch committee met and have developed a return to dancing strategy that reflects feelings of the branch members as well as the guidance provided centrally by the RSCDS.

Dancing at the Nottingham Branch will therefore recommence on Wednesday 8th September and details about the arrangements for this can be found on the ‘Classes‘ page.

The ‘Get Back to Dancing’ Saturday Social will be on 25th September and further information about the dance, the crib and videos of the planned dances can be found on the ‘Events‘ page.

New and returning dancers are welcome at all our classes and events, please contact the Committee using the details on the ‘Contact Us‘ page for further information.

Branch members at a garden social in August 2021

Autumn 2019

We have just completed another enjoyable term of dancing.

In September we were delighted to welcome several new members some already experienced dancers but also some completely new to Scottish Country Dancing.

Both general and beginners’ classes have been run on most teaching weeks. We’ve continued to have a social dance on the first Wednesday of each month allowing all members to dance together, with the more experienced dancers supporting the less experienced.

ADW has been popular again this term with the focus being on choosing a demonstration dance for next year’s ASCDS Festival.

Our September and November Saturday Social Dances were very well attended. Both were lively evenings with Ian Slater providing the music for the November event. Many members are now looking forward to the final social of the year on Hogmanay.

We ended the term with our usual Christmas party; plenty of dancing followed by a welcome cup of tea and a ‘bring and share’ supper.

We wish all our members a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Branch Christmas Social 2019 (2)Branch Christmas Social 2019

Demonstration Dance – July 2019

On Monday 15th July seven representatives of the branch provided a demonstration for those attending the Loughborough Baptist Church ‘Holidays at Home’ group. Before the demonstration we were treated to a delicious lunch so we were perhaps not as light on our feet as we would have liked!

Our audience were very appreciative and as we had a little time to spare some of them joined us for a walk through of our usual class warm-up dance to the tune of the British Grenadiers.

Thanks to David for the photographs.

60th Anniversary Dance – 18th May 2019

We’ve been planning and looking forward to our Diamond Jubilee Dance all year, and the day finally arrived and what a fantastic time we had!

It was lovely to welcome over 70 dancers from around our region to join us and dance to the uplifting music of George Meikle and the Lothian Band, which was a real treat.  There were even several people present who had been associated with the Branch from the inauguration.  It was an extremely enjoyable night amongst friends – dancing popular dances, with lots of smiling faces, and an excellent Bring and Share supper.

We were very honoured to be joined by Andrew Kellett, the Chairman of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society which was very special and very much appreciated.  With nearly 160 branches of the Society worldwide it was an honour indeed!  Andrew helped our Chairman, Elizabeth Gull, to cut the cake, decorated with the branch logo and he also proposed a toast to the Branch at the supper.  It was all very inspiring.

Everyone present was presented with a specially commissioned commemorative mug organised by Jimmy Livingston.  Margaret Livingston had compiled a wonderful display of archive photos and memorabilia going back over the 60 years, which created a lot of interest during the evening.

It was certainly a night to remember and we all had a very jolly time!

The photos of the evening were taken by David Page.

ASCDS Festival 2019

On Saturday 11th May, after a pub lunch at the Chequers Inn on the canal at Ranby, fourteen dancers represented the Branch in the massed dances at the Association of Scottish Country Dance Societies’ 39th Annual Festival held at the Retford Oaks Academy hosted by the Derby Scottish Association and Burns Club.  This year two of our dancers were joining us for the first time and they really enjoyed the four special practices we had, and the day itself.

Altogether there were around 200 dancers from the East Midlands and South Yorkshire all enjoying dancing to the music of Alan Ross and his Scottish Dance Band.  The kilts, white dresses and sashes looked magnificent en masse.  It was lovely to meet up with friends from other groups that we meet each year, all great fun.

There were five solo demonstration dances this year interspersed amongst the massed dance groups during the afternoon, and our Branch performed the Square Set Medley ‘The Rose of Glamis’ written by John Drewry to mark  the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1990.  (Glamis Castle was her childhood home). It was very well received!

Video: Roses of Glamis – ASCDS Festival 2019

In the evening, about 100+ of the most energetic dancers stayed on to a social dance, dancing to Alan Ross’s band again.  It was a full-on day, and all very enjoyable.  Next year is the 40th Festival, so plans are already in place to make it even more special.

Social Dance

It was lovely to welcome 56 dancers from our region to our second dance of the season to the Lutterell Hall in West Bridgford.  This season is our 60th anniversary year since the Branch was formed in 1959, and will culminate in a 60th Anniversary dance in May.

The wonderful music played by Ian Robertson and his Scottish Dance Band was an absolute joy to dance to, and inspired us to keep our feet reeling and setting until the very end of the night!  An excellent Bring and Share supper was enjoyed by everyone at the interval.

Thank you to David Page for the collage of photos taken during the dance.  There is also a link for a video taken during the evening by Mary Aitken of the dance Pirongia, which was on the programme.

Our next dance will be a Hogmanay dance on 31st December 2018, 8.00pm to just after midnight at Lowdham Village Hall (tickets £7 and £4 spectators, inc a wee tipple and cake for a toast).  Details on the Events page.

November Social Dance 2018

November 2018 – National Events in 2019

It might see a long way off but it is time to start thinking about the big RSCDS events that are being held in 2019.
The RSCDS events website is the best place to find out about all their forthcoming events: RSCDS Events

There are three events that we thought you might be particularly interested in:

Winter School 2019:

This is held from the 17th to the 22nd February in Pitlochery. Full details can be found here: Winter School 2019

Summer School 2019:

Over a month in the summer the RSCDS organise four weeks of music and dancing. In 2019 Summer School will begin on the 14th July and runs until the 11th August. Lots of different classes, courses and events will be held and full details can be found here: Summer School 2019

Lots of our members have attended Summer School in the past so please get in touch if you would like any more information.

Spring Fling & Spring Fringe 2019:

Spring Fling is an annual event for 12-35 year olds who have a basic grasp of Scottish Country Dancing. This year the event is being hosted by the Paris Branch of the RSCDS on behalf of the RSCDS Youth Services Committee. It is being held on the 19th-21nd April. Like Summer School a range of classes and social events are arranged over the weekend, but ultimately it is a designed to be a weekend that is fun and full of dancing!

More information about Spring Fling can be found here: Spring Fling 2019

Alongside this there is a parallel event called the Spring Fringe for everyone else who would like to be involved in a fun weekend of dancing. Some of the social dancing is shared with attendees at the Spring Fling but there are also dedicated Spring Fringe classes.

More information about Spring Fringe can be found here: Spring Fringe 2019

October 2018 – New Season Update

Classes have now been underway for a few weeks and it’s been lovely to catch up with everyone after the long summer break.

We’ve welcomed some new starters and been re-joined by others whose careers have taken them away for a period of time.

The class for new starters and the class for those who are more experienced are both progressing well, helping us all to learn new techniques or to brush up on those skills that might have become rusty! Additionally, those of us who didn’t get in much dancing over the summer are well on the way to regaining our previous fitness levels.

June 2018 – East Bridgford Village Show – Demonstration

Our demonstration team danced at the East Bridgford Village Show on Saturday 30th June. They danced several dances in the sunshine and below are some photographs from the Show. There is a video of one of dances, called  Nottingham Lace, available here.

View older posts here