Dereham residents love a little bit of shimmying!

A belly-dancing session took place for residents at Dereham's Meeting Point - Jane Webster (left) an

A belly-dancing session took place for residents at Dereham's Meeting Point - Jane Webster (left) and Ellen Waughman. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

With a shimmy of her hips and a swirl of her scarf Margery Middleton proved age was no barrier to keeping fit and healthy.

The 90-year-old from Shipdham needed only a little encouragement to get up and take part in a belly-dancing class at the Meeting Point in Dereham as part of a health and well-being week organised by the centre.

Aimed at encouraging the elderly and disabled to take more exercise and keep themselves warm and safe through the oncoming winter months the centre invited belly dancer Jane Webster to take the members through some gentle moves.

Known professionally as Janai, she performed a few routines of Egyptian dance which she was inspired to take up 16 years ago while in Turkey.

Then she got the members and some of the staff up and dancing and although there were a few tangles with the scarves there was also a lot of laughter.


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'It is a lovely exercise for older people,' she said. 'It gives me a lot of satisfaction seeing people getting up to dance.'

Mrs Middleton said she 'really enjoyed it' as she suffered from arthritis and it had done her a lot of good to get moving.

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Staff were particularly pleased to see one of their members John Pardy joining in with the moves.

They said Mr Pardy, who suffers from dementia, often liked to sit by himself but it was the first time that day he had felt happy to go into the meeting room and take part in an activity.

Meeting Point manager Shonette Mooney said they had run a week of different events aimed at keeping their members safe and healthy.

'We had a visit from the fire service and arthritis care as well as talks about keeping warm,' she said.

'We are also doing yoga, tai chi and keep fit. It is particularly important in the winter that they do get out and about rather than sitting at home doing nothing, with the rising cost of heating.

'They can come here and have a hot lunch and go on outings.'

The Meeting Point is open to anyone over the age of 55 or the disabled and Mrs Mooney said they had submitted a bid for a lottery grant to enable them to reach out to even more people, particularly in outlying villages.

'Dereham has a lovely community feel and often people come here for the first time and realise they know quite a lot of people.'

For more information about Meeting Point visit www.webjam.com/derehammeetingpoint or contact the centre on 01362 698866.

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