Yorkshire grandmother who taught generations of children to maypole dance over 50 years is recognised by the Queen in Birthday Honours List

As a young ballet teacher in the Dales, Stephanie Phillip had known nothing of maypole traditions, but would go on to spend 50 years coaching generations of children through their ribboned routines.

Settle grandmother Stephanie Phillip is awarded a BEM for services to dance and musical theatre. Image Tony Johnson
Settle grandmother Stephanie Phillip is awarded a BEM for services to dance and musical theatre. Image Tony Johnson

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?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“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.

Settle grandmother Stephanie Phillip is awarded a BEM for services to dance and musical theatre. Image Tony Johnson

“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.”

Read More

Read More
Brass musician, 93, says tootaloo after retiring after 74 years playing trombone

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.”

_______________________________________________________________

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.