Leicester Irish dancers bid to raise thousands to compete in All-Ireland Feis
Life & Style

Leicester Irish dancers bid to raise thousands to compete in All-Ireland Feis

AN Irish dancing school in Leicester is hoping to raise £16,000 to send its dancers to the All-Ireland Feis in Dublin this year.

A total of 10 dancers from the Shaun Burden School of Irish Dancing qualified to enter the Feis – which takes place in Dublin between June 26 and 29 – and the school now wants to raise money to cover the costs for the young performers.

So far, the children from the school have been working hard and managed to raise £5,000 – and now the final push is on to get the rest of the money raised.

Every penny raised will go towards getting the dancers to and from Ireland, as well as buying the dresses and sourcing accommodation.

“The cost varies from child to child,” said Shaun Burden, who founded the school with his wife Emma. “The cost of entry to the competition alone is €50 and some families have more than one child entered.

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“Then new dresses can cost at least £400, up to £500, so it’s very expensive for the families.”

Lynda Groves is one mother whose costs would have been difficult to meet without the fundraising efforts – and as such, she is leading the drive to raise money.

“We’ve already been working hard to raise funds, arranging events, holding car boot sales, sponsored football games and so on,” she said. “But we need to find sponsors and we are now appealing to both local businesses and further afield to make this happen for our girls.”

Ms Groves' daughters Shonagh, 13, and 12-year-old twins Darragh and Freya, will be hoping to secure some of the top prizes at the Feis next month.

The children are very involved in the fundraisers and have been bag packing in their local supermarkets, trying to make sure they get to Dublin for the end of June.

“The children have been working very, very hard to try to raise the money so we are very hopeful we’ll reach our target,” Mr Burden said. “We hope this will be an annual event now, so that all families can afford to send their children to the championships.”

The next event will be a family fun day on May 24. There will be face painting, activities for people of all ages and more on offer from 1pm on the day, at 450 Gypsy Lane, Leicester, LE5 0TB.

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To donate to the school’s #ReelDreams appeal, contact Shaun at [email protected].