Now the grandmother, a longtime choreographer and then producer for the Settle Operatic Society, is awarded a BEM for services to dance and musical theatre.
It had been a neighbour that had knocked on her door in 1968, aware of her ballet training at London’s Royal Academy of Dance. The nearby village of Long Preston had been gifted a maypole, and could she help?
“It’s rather developed over the years,” said Mrs Phillip, now 79, who has since taught the children and grandchildren of those first cohorts how to maypole dance.
“With the support of all the village communities and the school, we have kept it going. It would have been our 50th year.
“It’s still a very special celebration, a right of passage for schoolchildren.”
Mrs Phillip, who was a dance teacher in Bradford and volunteered with ballroom dancing in Settle and events at the town’s ‘dear’ Victoria Hall, produced shows such as My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, and Oliver. She had been utterly stunned to pick up the phone to a gentleman from the Cabinet Office on a Tuesday afternoon, to be told of the recognition.
“It was a bolt out of the blue,” she said. "I'm just so honoured that someone in the community has thought to nominate me.
“I’m so grateful. I think if I lived anywhere else, I wouldn’t have had these opportunities.”