Whitby dance teacher Barbara Benson-Smith hits £5,000 target ahead of 90th birthday

We celebrated Captain Tom’s sterling effort to raise funds on behalf of the NHS – now Whitby dance teacher Barbara Benson-Smith has clocked up an impressive feat of her own, just days ahead of her 90th birthday celebrations.

By Duncan Atkins
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 3:17 pm
Barbara Benson-Smith
Barbara Benson-Smith

Barbara decided she would like to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance as part of her Birthday Blitz fundraiser, by street dancing 90,000 steps.

And she has hit the target of £5,000 ahead of her 90th birthday, which is on Thursday (June 11).

A seasoned fund-raiser and former dance school teacher, Barbara decided to raise the cash on behalf of Great North Air Ambulance, in remembrance of her husband John who they saved after an accident in the Lake District.

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No stranger to charity work, Barbara was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s jubilee year for her lifelong dedication to the theatre and charity work for the NSPCC, raising thousands of pounds from the annual dancing school shows with the tremendous support of both parents and pupils.

Barbara is a well-known face in Whitby and the surrounding areas, having taught generations of children at the Benson Stage Academy.

Some famous alumni include Christopher Bruce, who went on to become Director of Ballet Rambert, Downton Abbey and Liar actress Joanne Froggatt.

In fact, Mr Bruce was one of the supporters on her JustGiving page.

He commented: “Keep dancing Barbara and thank you for all you did to start me off on my career in dance.

“What a gift! With love, Christopher.”

Barbara has also appeared in many productions with both Whitby Area Musical Theatre Company and Whitby Amateur Dramatic Society, of which she is also President.

She also finds time to be a voluntary worker at St Catherine’s Hospice shop on a regular basis.