Dancing doctor, 94, lands prize for 'growing old disgracefully'

Left to right Didi Longe, Southwold mayor Will Windell and Dr Christopher Hopkins

Left to right Didi Longe, Southwold mayor Will Windell and Dr Christopher Hopkins - Credit: Courtesy of Access Community Trust

A devoted dancing doctor, who boogied on down in a town centre earlier this year to boost a charity, has won a national award for his fundraising efforts.

Retired GP Christopher Hopkins embarked on a four-hour 'dancing doctor busk-athon' event in Lowestoft town centre in August.

Former doctor, Christopher Hopkins four hour danceathon Lowestoft

Former doctor, Christopher Hopkins raises money for charity by taking on a four hour danceathon in Lowestoft. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

As the special challenge highlighted the benefits of dancing for positive mental and physical health, funds were raised for the Lowestoft-based charity Access Community Trust, which supports homeless and vulnerable people throughout the region.

Former doctor Christopher Hopkins four hour danceathon Lowestoft

Former doctor, Christopher Hopkins raises money for charity by taking on a four hour danceathon in Lowestoft. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

After celebrating his 94th birthday last month, Dr Hopkins received the exciting news last week that his efforts to help raise much-needed funds had not gone unnoticed.

During August, the nonagenarian undertook the gruelling four hour long ‘dance-athon’ in Lowestoft - and in doing so, he was honoured with the 2021 national Grow Old Disgracefully achievement award for those over 90.

The annual Grow Old Disgracefully competition challenged anyone over the age of 90 to achieve something that defies expectation and draws inspiration from the likes of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore.

This year, Captain Sir Tom Moore's daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore joined the judging panel who whittled down a shortlist of strong competitors to confirm the success of Dr Hopkins' efforts to raise over £6,200 for charity.

The judging panel commended his stamina and determination and awarded the ‘dancing doctor’ the achievement prize of £200 and a tree of the winner’s choosing.

As Dr Hopkins has spent the majority of his career in Suffolk, and worked in Southwold for 30 years, he kept his spirits up throughout the pandemic by regularly dancing to keep his mind and body active.

Dr Christopher Hopkins with dance partner Didi Longe and the tree that has been planted.

Dr Christopher Hopkins with dance partner Didi Longe and the tree that has been planted. - Credit: Courtesy of Access Community Trust

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After much deliberation, Dr Hopkins chose a Monkey Puzzle tree, which was officially planted at his Wangford home with the help of his dance partner Didi Longe and the mayor of Southwold, Will Windell.

Dr Hopkins said: “I’m absolutely delighted with this recognition, I can now jest with my grandchildren that I am officially the most disgraceful 94-year-old in the UK.

"Many people still comment on my array of groovy dance moves.

"I hope my actions inspire others to do something against the grain and grow old disgracefully too!”

Dr Hopkins fundraising page for Access Community Trust remains open and donations can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DancingDoc

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