A DANCE teacher who has inspired generations of youngsters is celebrating 50 years in the business.

Angela Kirkham started teaching after he family moved to the area and she was unable to find somewhere to fulfill her love of dance.

Her parents moved to Ryedale from Middlesbrough, just after Angela turned 14 due to her dad’s work, which meant she could no longer attend the dance school which had occupied her every spare moment.

After attempts to walk the 60 miles back to her old dance school, her parents, in desperation, encouraged Angela to start her own.

She said: "I eventually opened my very own school in St Joseph’s Church Hall in Pickering with seven pupils attending for one hour on my first day.

"As the school grew, known firstly as Kirkham School of Dancing, my Mum enrolled me on to a dance teacher training course in Leeds to gain qualifications."

The school went from strength to strength and in 1989, Angela went into partnership with her late business partner and friend Jennie Henry and Kirkham Henry Performing Arts was created.

The centre has since become a Community Interest Company with a board of directors and is also known as an Inclusive school providing classes for the whole community, young and old.

Angela said: "It's not everyday you can say you have taught dance and continued to run your own school for 50 years.

"The centre continues to have many successes with students going into the profession, either as performers, producers or teachers.

"Some have been teaching as staff members alongside me for over 80 years combined.

"Kirkham Henry really is a true family."