A Scarborough dance-fitness instructor who started a class to help others has won a national award.
Debs Horsham-Batley, who teaches FitSteps and Zumba, has been awarded the UK and Europe FitSteps instructor of the year and Regional Community FitSteps Instructor for the North of England.
The 60-year-old is “still in shock after not expecting to win anything” after receiving her awards at Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.
Ladies who attend Debs’ classes nominated her in secret and she was only told after being selected as a finalist.
The mum-of-two said: “Sadly in 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It was really frightening.
“I had lost all my confidence but when I visited a friend’s house and Zumba had just started we ended up doing one of the DVDs. So I started doing them in my kitchen where it gave me one hour where I wasn’t anxious or fearful. It really lifted my spirits and helped me.”
Since 2010, Debs has taught her classes as a way to help people and have “a positive impact on others”.
“It’s important how you make people feel and it’s nice to help people who are lonely – for some it’s the only time they speak to someone that day,” Debs added.
FitSteps is a dance-Fitness programme, developed by Natalie Lowe, Ian Waite and Mark Foster, that combines ballroom steps that we see on Strictly with fitness elements.
“It provides a space where ladies, of all ages, can come together and exercise their bodies and brains but more importantly, find friends and feel valued and cared for. It means the world to me. I’m very lucky.”
Debs, a former Royal Air Force officer, “re-evaluated everything” after having breast cancer and moved back to her hometown Scarborough which she describes as the “most beautiful place”.
Classes taught by Debs are held at Newby and Scalby Community Hall, including Zumba Fitness on Monday and Wednesday 6.30pm, Fitsteps on Tuesday 6.30pm and Thursday 10am and Zumba Gold on Wednesday 10am.
For more information visit www.fever-fitness.com