Gallery: Old photo of dancing girl Joanne Bolton brought back memories for family of the World Champion who started her career in Ipswich
12:00 16 May 2014
The faces of thousands of people have been captured in print in this newspaper over the years, but where has life taken them?
This was the question photographer Andy Abbott pondered when he came across his black and white photograph, which featured in the EADT in 1979, of six-year-old Joanne Bolton, from Nedging Tye, who was looking for a dance partner.
After Mr Abbott recently included the image in his West Suffolk Photo Album feature, Joanne’s father Neville Bolton, 67, got in contact to say not only had she found a partner, she had gone on to become a world champion in ballroom dancing.
Joanne, who is now Bolton-Hawkins, has had a glittering career as a professional dancer, and even made a guest appearance on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing show in 2007.
She married Christopher Hawkins – also a world champion dancer – in 2011 and the couple now coach the world’s top amateur and professional dancers at home and abroad.
Mr Bolton said the family realised fairly early on Joanne had a talent.
“You can teach people to dance, but she had something else, something you cannot teach. That spark was there for whatever reason,” he said.
At the age of four she started going to dance classes run by Tom and Pat Lait from Ipswich.
Mr Bolton said Joanne, whose long-standing dance partner was Timothy Howson, started winning competitions locally, nationally and then internationally.
Joanne, who turned professional in 1995, won the British Open Professional Championship in 2005, which Mr Bolton said was the “biggest prize of all”.
Joanne and her husband live in Surrey and have a daughter called Amelia.