November eUpdate and AGM minutes
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Chair Chat

Hello everyone,

Thank you to so many of you for attending the Zoom AGM. The numbers were well above the usual turnout for a regular AGM, so I think that counts as a success. There was also plenty of positive feedback to the entertainment from Ian Slater. I thought he did brilliantly. Some members admitted to feeling quite emotional and others got up to have a bit of a dance: a 5-star response.

This month I was delighted to send birthday greetings to Ivy Lawson.  Ivy celebrated her 100th birthday on 24 October and you can read all about it in Kathie’s article below.

What Kathie does not mention is that members of the Thursday class (Brenda’s class) hoped to perform a new dance for Ivy at her birthday party. This would have added to a fine tradition of dances dedicated to Ivy. For her 79th birthday, Brenda Burnell created the reel A Dance for Ivy. This was followed by two dances published in the Leeds Golden Collection, the jig, All the Eights, devised by Brenda for Ivy’s 88th birthday and Nifty Ninety for her 90th.

I love the way Nifty Ninety develops the possibilities of a nine-couple set, but I suppose it is All the Eights that is best known around the world. It is a superb dance that flows beautifully. Here you can see it being enjoyed in Budapest.

I recognise a couple of dancers from Britain, though I do not think the Leeds Branch is represented, except by Brenda’s dance. Roll on the time when we can share a dance weekend together, not least here in Leeds with the September Day School and the White Rose Festival.

Best wishes to you all,


AGM & Committee Activity

The RSCDS Leeds Branch AGM 2020 was held by Zoom on the 17 October 2020, followed by a very welcome session from Ian Slater, reminding us all of why we love Scottish dancing.

Minutes of the RSCDS Leeds Branch AGM 2020

Our next Committee meeting is due to take place on the 22 November.

This is the meeting where jobs are shared out, we elect our Vice-Chair and generally prepare for the year ahead. Please, send us your suggestions for how we might plan to return to dancing, or any other matters.  The agenda was planned to consider all our options for returning to dancing - we will still do that, despite plunging once more into lockdown, although normality is beginning to look further off, as clearly lockdown was eased too quickly last time.

100 Years on - Ivy Lawson - Queen of her Day

For 44 years I was lucky to have had Ivy Lawson for a friend and neighbour.  It didn’t take long to realise just what an indomitable lady lived next door.  With a plethora of friends from all over the world and an insatiable energy to bring more into her fold, she is quite amazing – and this still goes on with the new friends she has made since being in a Care Home.
When she found out I did Scottish dancing, she asked if she could come.  She was 75 years old and flitted about like a 45 year old.  I knew she went on holiday to Dornoch, Scotland, every year for a fortnight but I never knew she attended dances and ceilidhs up there until much later.  When the music started, she was a born natural.  She would attend and dance at every event she could, from White Rose Festivals to Afternoon Tea dances, with classes in between.  She was a regular spectator at the Children’s Festival and on entering the Care Home, taught the staff Scottish dancing up and down the corridors.
When she was 80, she and a visiting friend from Canada, put on a spread for the Thursday class which was very well received and enjoyed.  She announced that night that she was looking forward to getting a card from The Queen when she was 100.  When she was 90, she put on a ceilidh at a local hostelry to which 95 people came from all over the world.  At that time, she re-iterated that she would get her card from the Queen.  Sure enough, Her Majesty came up tops and Ivy has her card.  I understand that Ivy was so excited with this card, and lots of others besides, that her niece is making her a Memory Box to put on her bedroom wall as a special memento of the day.
She received greetings and good wishes from The Bramley Elderly Action group, The Bird Watching Society, The Mother’s Union, RSCDS Headquarters, RSCDS Leeds Branch and, needless to say, her family and surviving friends both young and old from the four corners of the earth.
Mindful of the dreadful times we are all involved in right now, Ivy’s family worked wonders to give her the kind of day she would love and with the help from the staff of the Care Home, all sorts happened.  Because of lockdown they arranged a garden room for Ivy to sit in, that opened onto the garden.  It had a screen to keep her and the staff safe, but also her family and friends were able to see her in safety as well.  The staff had decorated the dining room, there was a special lunch laid on by her family, 2 birthday cakes – one from family and the other made by the staff, a concert in the afternoon followed by a buffet tea party with a few drinks.  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, because I know Ivy would have had the time of her life.

In spite of any adversity, all in all it was a very happy and successful day.     
Kathie D          

Terry Chater

Earlier this year the committee decided that the most appropriate place for members’ obituaries was on the website. You can read the obituary for Terry Chater here.

Head Office

Virtual Festival 

For those who missed it, there was a virtual festival earlier this year. Branches from around the world have gathered (online and live), and wow, they have come up with some lovely surprises. Watch their fantastic contributions, and enjoy an imaginative, beautiful and fun collection of Scottish Country Dance, 2020 style.
On-line classes
I know many of you have been enjoying some of the on-line classes and here are just a few to catch up on or watch again. Angela YoungMervyn ShortDave HallDiane Hastie,William WilliamsonRon WallaceGraham DonaldAtsuko ClementFiona MackieDavid QueenDebbie RoxburghRebecca Blackhall-Peters, Sue PorterTrish Nicholls,  Samuele GrazianiRobert McOwenAndrew TimminsAlice StainerAndrew Nolan

Covid -19

With so much not happening because of the pandemic it is difficult for many of us to know what we can do to help apart from keeping safe and well, and not getting the virus. However, there are various way of perhaps helping defeat the virus.
Back in March,  Tim Spector and his team at Kings College London launched their Covid symptom app (Zoe) which now has 4,364,534 members, and always looking for more. It doesn't take up much time; once you have downloaded the app it takes only a minute or less to report any symptoms you have, or if you have none. As a bonus, you then have access to their results and findings.
More recently the NHS and the National Institute for Health Research have been calling for volunteers to Sign up to be contacted about coronavirus vaccine research. 
In the most recent copy of the Covid-19 Vaccine Registry Newsletter (October 2020) there is a report on the experience of being part of the Novavax trial at the Royal Free Hospital. As someone who has recently been part of the same trial in Leeds I endorse everything she said. The experience was very well organised  and I felt very well looked after at every stage, which was clearly explained to me and all my questions were answered. As the physician who looked after me said, when I asked him what about his day job "This is the most important thing we could be doing now to get out of the pandemic and get the economy moving gain, so that is why I have volunteered to be here". I understand they are still looking for volunteers.
Coronavirus Risk Assessment
In the meantime our Coronavirus Risk Assessment document is available for you to read, digest, and comment on.  I have included here the rational behind the RA.

We are (and have been) working hard to keep up with the development of Covid-19 and ways of overcoming it so that we can plan how to return to something approaching our normal SCD activities.  We are sorry that up to the present online activities seem to be all that is possible - and they don’t really ‘hit the spot’ for dancers or musicians!  Our priorities are to keep our members, ‘beneficiaries’ and colleagues safe;  we must be legal, as must our venues and musicians.  We are not looking for ways to ‘get round’ legislation and serious scientific research and advice. 

 Meanwhile our musicians have met a few times in a gazebo outside the Chemic in Hyde Park, but have had to abandon this as it is now too cold to play outside and it is no longer wise to play inside.

The Risk Assessment for Coronavirus we have produced is not cast in stone, and can and will be kept up to date as circumstances and our knowledge of the Coronavirus change.  

Please have a look and feel free to comment or suggest amendments to:  This document is in addition to our usual Risk Assessment, as required by our insurers.

Here is how we have arrived at the present document:

We have considered the following;

  • our responsibilities and duties as a registered Charity
  • Government guidelines and the law
  • our ‘users/beneficiaries’ (current and potential dancers and musicians)
  • our ‘staff’ (teachers, Committee, professional musicians, administrators, volunteer helpers at events)
  • the geographical areas our staff and users are drawn from
  • our venues and their requirements, including their risk assessments
  • other groups/individuals using the same venues
  • the range of our activities (classes, workshops, residential courses, social dances, WRF, family ceilidhs, demos)
  • the type of activity these involve (aerobic, close contact, mostly indoors, social interaction, preparing & serving refreshments, cleaning)
  • our knowledge of the virus (symptoms, transmission, duration and severity of illness, after effects, vulnerability of various groups)
  • our knowledge of how to mitigate each risk
  • financial viability

We have consulted the following sources:

  • Guidance for Branches from RSCDS Head Office 
  • International Branches’ Online Forum for Secretaries and Officers
  • Guidance for registered Charities (especially educational charities ) and Sport and Leisure organisations  
  • Guidance from the Government 
  • statements and comments from SAGE and SAGE members
  • ONS
  • Local government (Leeds) advice and guidance
  • Research and development data locally and nationally
  • press reports and analyses from reliable sources
  • New Scientist
  • Zoe (Kings College London /Prof. T Spector)
And Finally...
I hope you are continuing to find the eUpdate useful and giving you essential information about RSCDS generally, our Branch, and the activities of your hardworking Committee.  We welcome contributions - long or short,  memories, plans, comments or articles related to SCD and Scotland - however loosely!

In the meantime, keep safe and keep moving, even it can't strictly (Haha!) be called dancing.

Best Wishes
Copyright © 2020 Leeds Branch RSCDS, All rights reserved.

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