SUNSHINE, scones and stylish dance moves were the order of the day at a lively tea dance that took over Darlington’s Market Square this afternoon (August 13).

Hundreds of pensioners donned their dancing shoes to enjoy GOLD’s (Growing Old Living in Darlington) annual tea dance, now in its twelfth year.

Couples took to their feet to demonstrate well-honed skills as The Little Big Band filled the air with a variety of toe-tapping tunes.

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Those retiring from the dance floor were invited to put their feet up with a cream tea and relish the atmosphere while stalls dotted around the square offered information and advice on a variety of subjects.

From its humble beginnings in 2002, when just a handful of brave souls waltzed their way around the square, the tea dance has gone from strength to strength with more than 500 dancers demonstrating their moves at this year’s event.

Sylvia Howard, who turned out to the dance for the eleventh year running, said: “It’s brilliant, people at this age desperately need to keep going and this is the one thing we look forward to all year.”

Veronica Copeland, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Housing praised the organisers of the event.

She said: “The event is popular amongst residents, young and old alike. The live music really brings an air of celebration to the Market Place and it is brilliant to see lots of people joining in.”

“I must say a huge thank you to all the members of GOLD who have worked so hard to make this happen once again.

“They are volunteers who use their spare time to organise the event and other events that help enrich the lives of our older residents.”

The only dark cloud hovering over the event came in the form of concerns around funding.

Darlington Borough Council recently announced that funding for GOLD would be cut next year, leaving organisers worried about the future of the much-loved tea dance.

It's chairman Terry Taylor said the group, which relied on fundraising to put on this year’s event, is currently in talks with other organisations in a bid to secure funding for the future.