Dance pupils aiming to shine in memory of classmate who died at 14

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OVER 50 pupils from a Yorkshire dance school have recorded a song celebrating the life of a classmate who died from pancreatic cancer.

Pupils at Doncaster’s Riley School of Dance and Performing Arts have recorded a song called Shine Down in memory of Bethany Fitzpatrick, from Cantley in Doncaster, who died last year at the age of 14.

The song features many of Beth’s close friends singing solo lines and the whole school joining in the chorus and finale.

Writer and arranger Jon Barker, a musician who has two children who attend the dance school, said: “It was a very emotional recording session.

“We captured the emotion in the recording and everyone is delighted with the results.”

Mixed in London by top Abbey Road producer Chris Traves – a friend of Mr Barker – Shine Down will be performed live on stage in the Riley Dance Show, A Magical Smile, which is being performed at Doncaster Civic Theatre 
between February 28 and March 2.

Proceeds from the show and the song will go to Cancer Research, and in particular research into pancreatic cancer.

Julie Riley, the dance school’s main teacher and the show’s choreographer, said they had virtually sold out of CDs, having had only 350, and were considering producing more.

She described Bethany as a “lovely, very spirited” girl who loved performing in shows.

“This is a celebration of her life,” she added.

“She was an energetic kid and very intelligent. She loved singing and dancing and was a cherished member of the Riley School of Dance.

“Kids in her class were moved by what happened and kids who didn’t know her are also taking part.”

Shine Down was sung by children between the ages of five and 18.

The CDs are being sold by the dance school, which has a base at Bentley, Doncaster. A video is available on YouTube and the music will soon be available to download from iTunes.

Parent Julie Mallinson, 40, of Wheatley, Doncaster, whose daughter Mya, eight, attends the school, said: “The girls and the staff are trying to raise money and awareness of pancreatic cancer because Bethany’s death had a massive effect on the girls that she was close to. It has affected the whole school.”