Lifetime achievement award for Ipswich dancing duo Pat and Tom Lait’s years of devotion
- Credit: Su Anderson
A husband and wife dancing dream team have been recognised for a lifetime of achievement.
Pat and Tom Lait were given the award by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing at a congress in Worthing, West Sussex, at the weekend.
The pair met in a dancing studio in Clacton-on-Sea 50 years ago and became dance partners before getting married in Ipswich in 1967.
The award is usually only given to one dancer – but an exception was made for this duo because of their many years of service to dance.
The couple first taught together at Ipswich School of Dancing for seven years before opening their own studio – The Lait Dance Club – in Clarkson Street, Ipswich, in 1974. It is still running today.
Starting off with just the two of them, the business has expanded to include a number of instructors.
“We offer a whole range of dance, we teach right from grassroots beginners up to world champions,” Mrs Lait said.
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At the age of 70, Mrs Lait still teaches almost every day of the week, and Mr Lait, 84, leads a tea dance every Thursday.
“The award we have been given is a lifetime achievement award.
“The society has recognised us for our service to dance,” Mrs Lait added.
“On the night we were absolutely over the moon and very honoured – and our whole family were there to share it with us.”
Their two children – Bruce and Annette – have both won national titles in dance and are now also teachers. They also have four grandchildren, two of whom are just starting to make their first steps on the dance floor.
Mr and Mrs Lait have appeared on the original Strictly Come Dancing series – then named Come Dancing –which ran on the BBC until 1998.