Karen and Peter Walmsley
Our Biography by Peter Walmsley
It was in September 1988 when Karen, my wife, and myself decided we needed a common interest/hobby as our family was growing more independent ( two teenagers ) and our local RAOB club started a country music night on a Thursday. We had always liked the music so we went along to see what it was like, it was there where we met John Sandham who had got the organisers O.K. To teach a line or partner dance during the evening. Karen being an ex morris dancer was first on the floor dragging me with her! It wasnt very long before we were totally hooked and going to other country venues on other nights. We joined forces with John( John Sandham) and formed Western Express Dance club and helped to form a display team that we took around the country raising money for charities and competing in competitions as well.
Within 12 months we were running the country nights at the RAOB( The Wooden Nicol) myself doing the disco (Peanuts) and Karen teaching the dances. We had several other classes to attend and if not at a class we would go to a club where we could dance socially (Riverside Southport, RNA Widnes,Preston Outlaws etc)
By September 1990 we went down to Pontins Brean Sands to take our dance teaching qualifcations with Dick and Geneva Mattias and taught at many festival from then on including Prestatyn, Brean,
Sand bay, Hemsby and Barton Hall Torquay.
We were asked by Lyndon Foster to teach in north wales at Brymbo easter festival and this led to a 20 year assosiation with the same!From going there to teach the dances I graduated to doing the compare/disco on the festivals and for the last x years became organisers and promoters.
Our Thursday night club moved to the ROF club at Euxton and we presented live music twice a month through the 90s teaching on alternate weeks.We held a few weekend dance festivals there and always sold out of places people coming from as far away as Kent! Caravans on the carpark helps!
In 1997 Karen went to Torbay and won the Silver Line dance championship which she enjoyed immensely.
Sadly in 2008 Karen was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and her health deteriated over the next 3 years but she carried on teaching and attending festivals so long as we had an electric hook-up for her oxygen machine!
At Easter Brymbo festival 2011 I announced my retirement to look after Karen as by now she was wheelchair bound and needed 24 hour oxygen. She passed away January 2012 God Bless Her Soul, Since then ive attended a few festivals but sadly its not the same without her.
We had such a fantastic time teaching/socialising with lots of lovely people, very fond memories of you All