STORYextra

A RESPECTED dance teacher who has staged hugely successful shows in Scarborough is jumping for joy after being included in the New Year’s Honours List.

Barbara Benson-Smith, who runs the Benson Stage Academy, has been made a MBE by the Queen.

Mrs Benson-Smith, of Whitby, was bestowed the honour for services to Dance and to Charity.

Mrs Benson-Smith, who performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the old Open Air Theatre and has staged 124 productions raising money for charity, said she was delighted to have been made a MBE.

She said: “I am very honoured and thrilled and also so very grateful.

“A lot of people do so much great work and don’t get as much recognition.

“This just comes as a bonus because I am very happy doing what I do.

“You have got to set a good example and my life has touched so many people.

“If I can help people to enjoy dance then that is the main thing for me.

“We have got a very good team going and our dancers are always getting marvellous results.

“I teach the acrobatic, dance and the baby classes and I love doing them all.

“On the morning I wake up I think to myself, ‘oh, lovely’ because they are so much fun and keep you young.”

The honour comes two years after Mrs Benson was narrowly pipped to the Carl Allen Award by Sir Bruce Forsyth for making a significant contribution to the dance and theatre industry.

There was also honours joy for other local stars, including an OBE for Colin Pyrah, of Whitby, a special projects director for Paragon Creative.

His honour was given for services to the UK Heritage Industry.

Christopher Gerrard Anderson. deputy chief fire officer, for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, received the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

The list also included an CBE for esteemed cricket umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird.

Mr Bird, who is a familiar face at Scarborough Cricket Festival, previously received an MBE in 1986.

The colourful character is a long-time fan of Scarborough’s North Marine Road and helped clean up the ground alongside current international fast bowler James Anderson and ex-England batsman Mike Gatting last year.

He also officially opened an Age Con-cern event at Scarborough’s Spa Complex in October.