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21/10/2021

Special virtual tea dance being held in Derry today to cheer up people during the lockdown

Regular events have had to be cancelled because of coronavirus

Derry tea dance

One of the previous tea dances in the Guildhall.

A tea dance with a difference will take place in Derry today.

The monthly Mayor's tea dances at the Guildhall have been a highlight of their social calendar for many people in recent years.

However, as with so many other events, the dances were cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

While it will not be as a good as the real thing, an alternative tea dance will take place tomorrow afternoon.

Mayor, Michaela Boyle, and her team are linking up with the Mark Patterson Show on Radio Foyle to create a special live virtual tea dance from 2pm to 3pm.

The show will feature music from local band Midnight Sun.

Derry City and Strabane District Council will be providing a digital archive of some fascinating pieces from the Tower Museum's Showbands Exhibition featuring old photos and stories from back in the day.

There will be the opportunity to hear from some tea dance regulars, and listeners can phone in to share their stories and memories.

Councillor Boyle said she was really looking forward to catching up with some of the tea dance regulars.

"The tea dances are one of my favourite events and they have a dedicated following of lively members of the older generation who would put us all to shame with their energy and vitality.

"This is a very difficult time for everyone – particularly older citizens – many of whom will be shielding at home, and perhaps feeling more isolated from family and friends.

"I wanted to do something positive to cheer people up by capturing some of the fun and memories from previous events, and reminding them that we will see a return to normality and many more tea dances to come.”

BBC  Radio Foyle  Content Editor Larry Deeney said they were delighted to be able to reach out through the show.

"The Mark Patterson programme draws listeners of every generation and when the council mentioned they were hoping to broadcast the tea dance we thought the show would be the perfect platform.

“With social distancing measures in place, now people can enjoy the tea dance safely from their place of residence," he explained.

“We hope the tea dance hour will help reconnect some of the regular tea dancers and allow people to share in some of the special memories from the event."

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