Life was a ball for Dorothy

PUBLISHED: 14:07 13 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 March 2010

THREE months short of her 101st birthday, a centenarian ballroom dancer who kept active throughout her life has died.

THREE months short of her 101st birthday, a centenarian ballroom dancer who kept active throughout her life has died.

Though Ipswich born and bred, talented dancer Dorothy Walters later settled in Stowmarket after marrying Claude, a former World War One pilot.

He first spotted her when he was a chorister at St Margaret's Church choir in Ipswich and, it is said, winked at her when he walked past down the aisle. A romance, needless to say, followed.

They were to later celebrate 70 years of marriage in 1996 while they were both staying in Woodfield Court Residential Home in Temple Road, Stowmarket.

Never one to turn down adventure, Mrs Walters swapped ballroom for cockpit, flying in a bi-plane over Ipswich when the couple won a prize at Martlesham Fair before they married.

A family member recalled: "As Claude had flown before, he asked Dorothy if she would like to go instead. You bet! Claude was left holding her hat and handbag as Dorothy, in a heavy leather coat and helmet, was strapped into an open cockpit, and took to the skies above Ipswich.

"She said that the sight of her home town laid out below her was absolutely wonderful."

The experience inspired a love of flying and travelling with her husband after he retired as an

electrical engineer. For many years Dorothy was an active member of the WRVS, for which she was awarded a long service medal.

She maintained a healthy interest in current affairs – and could even remember the news reporting the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

Claude died three years ago, aged 99, and both of their sons predeceased them, Tony in 1972 and Robert in 1997. Mrs Walters, who died on July 2, is survived by her daughter José, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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