Life-lover Bea dances into 101st year

Bea (Beatrice) Sowray celebrates her 100th birthday this weekend, at home on Greylands Park Drive. Picture by Andrew Higgins 121566a  14/04/12
Bea (Beatrice) Sowray celebrates her 100th birthday this weekend, at home on Greylands Park Drive. Picture by Andrew Higgins 121566a 14/04/12

A FORMER dance teacher and dog instructor is all smiles as she celebrates reaching her 100th birthday.

Beatrice Sowray, known affectionately as Bea, was joined by family and friends for a party at her home in Greylands Park Drive to celebrate the milestone.

Bea was born in Canada and brought up in London, before moving to Scarborough in her retirement with her husband David, who was born and bred in the town.

The pair met when Mr Sowray was posted to London in the RAF during the Second World War, and after a brief courtship were married in 1943.

After the war the couple became keen dancers, and in 1949 were crowned Essex Old Time Dancing Champions.

The pair then turned professional and set up their own school, Sowray School of Old Time Dancing.

Bea’s daughter Dawn, her only child, said: “There were both at the top of their profession, and their school was very well known and popular for its time. Mum still has dancer’s legs even now.”

As well as training dancers Bea trained dogs, and still has a love of animals today.

Looking back over the last century, Bea fondly remembers spending time with her father, who she cared for until his death from leukaemia.

Bea said: “I love being alive. I would love to live to be 115.”

An avid book worm, until she became unable to read, Bea also developed a love of painting in her 60s, a hobby which she continued well in to her 80s.

So what is Bea’s secret to living for 100 years?

“Just living and being positive,” said Bea. “I really do enjoy being alive and I still want to be alive.”

Her daughter Dawn added: “Mum really does have a thirst for life. She loves taking everything in and getting to know people. She is a very determined woman which I think has helped see her through all these years.”