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Former dance instructors’ wedding to raise funds for cha-cha-charity

26 January 2018

Former ballroom dancing instructors, Roger Caldwell and Linda Downes from Warrington, are to marry on 27 January - 50 years after they first met - after both losing their spouses to pancreatic cancer.

Linda Downes and Roger Caldwell

Roger and Linda first met in 1967, when they were training to be ballroom and Latin American dance instructors in Manchester, alongside their friends Kath Mould and Dave Downes. After qualifying, Roger went on to marry Kath and Linda married Dave, and the couples went their separate ways, raised families and lost touch.

Then in 2009, some 40 years after they lost contact, Roger was looking up old friends on the Court School of Dancing’s Friends Reunited page and saw Linda’s name. He got in touch and they discovered that both Kath and Dave had passed away: Dave in 1998 and Kath in 2008. They stayed in touch, rekindled their friendship - and their dancing days - and have been together ever since. 

“It’s strange how life works out,” says Roger. “The four of us had shared such good times together. It was a lovely surprise to find Linda again after all these years and a shock to discover that both Kath and Dave had died of the same illness – such a tragic coincidence.”

The wedding will take place at Cottons Hotel in Knutsford. At least a dozen of the wedding guests are old friends from the Dancing School and the couple are looking forward to sharing the dance floor with them again. As for their first dance, Linda says they’re still deciding between a Caribbean Foxtrot or the Paso Doble. 

“We feel very lucky that we’ve found love again, and we know that Kath and Dave would be happy for us,” says Linda.  “We wanted to pay tribute to them at the wedding, so we thought it would be a good idea to suggest donations to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund in lieu of wedding presents - as you can imagine, we’ve both accumulated all the household goods that anyone could ever want!”

Maggie Blanks, PCRF's CEO said:  “This is a lovely end to a sad story and we’re very happy for Roger and Linda and their families. Their generosity will ensure that we can continue to fund world class research towards our goal of developing an early diagnostic test and new treatments for pancreatic cancer, and we’re very grateful for their support.”

The four friends at a Dancing School reunion in early 1970s

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