YORK’S ‘Dancing Queen’ Evelyn Witcombe has died at the age of 85.

Evelyn raised thousands of pounds for charities during a career in dance that spanned almost 70 years. She first began teaching dance aged 15 - from her bedroom above the family grocer’s shop in Huntington.

In 2019, Evelyn’s school of dancers put on a commemorative show “Diamond Dance” at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, in Haxby Road, to celebrate her 60-year association with the theatre.

Evelyn’s father had told her that if she wanted to do dancing, she could do it above the shop in her bedroom. The 15-year-old put in some barres next to the bed and could fit in 12. The number of pupils multiplied and Evelyn never looked back.

Shortly after the commemorative show in 2019, Evelyn hung up her dancing shoes and Charlie (Charlotte) Hardy, one of her former pupils who had been learning dance under Evelyn for 32 years, started a new dance school at St Andrews Church Hall, the same venue that had been used by Evelyn for so many years.

Charlie, 36, said: “We were very good friends, go out for dinners and I became a student helper of Evelyn’s, which ultimately led to me having my own dance school. She supported me 100 per cent. She was absolutely brilliant, such a kind heart and Evelyn was always thinking of others.

“She always donated a portion of the profits from her show to charity and her church, St Andrews in Huntington.”

Evelyn, who lived in Huntington and passed away on May 27, lost her husband Ivor more than 20 years ago, and is survived by daughters Sally and Heather, and son Rob.

“Dancing was her life,” said Rob, 57.

“Mum was always raising money for charities and churches, and had been dancing all of my life.

“Sally and Heather used to dance with her in their early years and she always looked out for others. She had one heck of a life.”

The funeral service will be held at St Andrews Church in Huntington on Thursday, June 17. For further details, contact Darley Funeral Directors on 01904 622746.