A disco queen from Gwynedd who has boogied with chart-toppers Hot Chocolate, Bananarama and Kool and the Gang and on Top of the Pops has danced for 24 hours to raise over £4,000 for the North Wales NHS charity.
Carys Roberts strutted her stuff and shook her booty all day and all of the night at Criccieth Memorial Hall in aid of Awyr Las, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board charity.
The Pilates and dance class tutor, who appropriately lives on Rock Terrace in the town, high-kicked off her danceathon at 9am and took just two toilet breaks totalling three minutes before finishing at 9.03 the next morning.
She was joined on the floor of the Hall throughout by a rota of members of her regular Carysmatic dance classes – all of them strictly observing social distancing.
Carys, 60 next month and with a string of dance titles to her name, decided to raise money for Awyr Las because her two brothers, John and Gwyn, are doctors on the front line of the pandemic battle in Manchester and in South Wales.
She said: “My brothers are doctors and are seeing it first hand and I’ve also got friends locally who work in the NHS including as ambulance staff so I wanted to do it for them.
“I’ve been teaching dance for 38 years but had had to cancel all my classes because of Covid-19 but I was determined it wasn’t going to stop me dancing in a good cause.
“Ben Rosen and the people at the Memorial Hall have been hugely supportive and there’s been just me in a little marked square dancing along with friends and volunteers from my classes who made a rota to join me throughout the event.
“It was livestreamed on Youtube and it’s been fantastic the support I’ve had, both locally and from abroad because I’ve had messages and donations from Japan, China and Canada.
“I did have a dip in energy between one and three in the morning but I got a second burst of energy then and I was still full of energy at the finish – I had carried on dancing even when I was changing the music over.
“I’d like to keep dancing for another 30 years because I felt so good afterwards. My feet were fine, I had a little twinge in one knee but my back and hips were great.”
In her 20s Carys, a Welsh speaker, won a string of dancing titles including the 1979 UK Disco Dancing Championships, the Sony Dancing Queen in 1982 and the 1984 Malibu Disco Dance Championship and appeared on BBC’s flagship Top of the Pops and ITV’s The Hitman and Her as well as on Welsh language shows Twndish and Ser.
She had made her dance debut on the stage of the Criccieth Memorial Hall at the age of 12 and she said: “It’s a special place for me and everyone has been so helpful with the arrangements and my husband, Torsten, has been so supportive.
“I wanted to support Awyr Las because of the people who have been looking after us and because we need to be prepared.
“We’ve been taking care and it’s been OK so far but the worst may be yet to come for us in North Wales
“I love dancing and this has been a pleasure for me but it has been the people who have donated so generously who have been the stars along with those at the Memorial Hall and my husband, Torsten, who has also been very supportive.
Kirsty Thomson, head of fundraising for Awyr Las, said: “People across |North Wales have been so generous with the efforts they have made to support us and I have to take my hat off to Carys for this amazing effort.
“I think she will have danced her way into the hearts of so many people in the NHS and the support she has received locally in Criccieth has been fantastic.
“These are difficult times and it is wonderful the way so many people are raising a lot of money for something close to their hearts – their local healthcare services.
“Awyr Las brightens the lives of hospital patients and people receiving health care in the community and helps change and save lives by supporting additional equipment, facilities, special projects, education and research that goes over and above what the NHS provides.”
To donate to Carys go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Carysmatic-24h-Danceathon and for more information on Awyr Las NHS Charity go to https://awyrlas.org.uk/