Anne Gillian Ward: 1929 - 2014

An Appreciation

Gill in 'Triumph', in rehearsals, EDC Festival. 2014 - click to enlarge

Gill in 'Triumph', in rehearsals, EDC Festival. 2014

Gill loved to dance! I first met her, almost 45 years ago, when she was helping her future husband run a folk dance group in Norwich. I still remember her warm, friendly welcome and how she always ensured that newcomers were up there dancing, not relegated to the sidelines. Her enthusiasm was infectious, especially for her first love, the dances of John Playford. Many dancers have been grateful to Gill for sharing her knowledge and expertise so generously.

When the early dance movement finally reached the wilds of Norfolk, Gill avidly embraced the new styles and extended her repertoire to include 15th and 16th centuries. The original adult education class eventually metamorphosed into an independent organisation and Gill became the first treasurer. That responsibility she tackled with superb efficiency; along the way she quietly took on other little tasks (every organisation has them) which, if done well, help to make things run smoothly. It is only now that we are realising just how much she did do. She rarely missed a class and, even when nursing her husband through his final illness, managed to come along most weeks.

She has been described as "someone who always made things better" and became something of a materfamilias for our group - not because of seniority but because she would always find time to help, counsel and support anyone in need. She was also extremely modest; when our sewing group first began work on period costumes she said she "wasn't really very good with a sewing machine" Don't you believe it! Over the years she turned out some beautiful costumes for herself and others, which will stand as a permanent memorial to her.

The evening before her death Gill was out at a class, dancing her beloved Playford - dancing to the very end. We miss you very much, Gill.

Anne Giles, Norwich Historical Dance.

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