Birkenhead: Disco dance champion Heather helps train stars of the future

A YOUNG woman who became a freestyle disco champion after overcoming a heart condition is now passing on her skills to other budding dancing queens.

Heather Farrell, 27, who works as a sales assistant at The Perfume Shop in The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead, was born with a heart murmur but she never let it hold her back and has been crazy on disco dancing since she was a tot.

After having the heart defect cured by surgery at Alder Hey Hospital at the age of five, her dancing really took off and she went on to win a series of honours, including taking the European champion title on a number of occasions in her teens.

In recent years, Heather, who lives in Greasby, has become a dance teacher with a stage school, which has classes in Wallasey and Rhyl, and has passed on the dedication which helped make her a champion to a host of budding young disco divas of the future.

She has done it so well that six of them, from the Wirral and North Wales, have now qualified for the Freestyle Disco World Championships to be staged in Blackpool this summer.

Heather, who has enjoyed working at The Perfume Shop for the past five years, teaches freestyle disco at the Starmaker Stage School which is run by her aunt, Jackie Pell.

She helps out at classes in Wallasey on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and in Rhyl on Saturday mornings.

Heather said: “After being born with the heart murmur, the doctors’ advice was to stay away from physical activity but I got into freestyle disco dancing when I was very little and loved it so much I didn’t let the murmur stop me doing it.

“Later, I did quite well and won a lot of dance championships. Now I help out my Auntie Jackie at her classes in Wallasey and Rhyl and love passing on the things I know to the young ones.

“The six girls who have qualified for the world championships in Blackpool have all worked really hard. They’ve done so well to get through to this stage but they will be facing some really tough competition from the other dancers who come from lots of different countries.

“I am delighted to think I have helped them prepare to get to such a big and important event.”

Derek Millar, Commercial Director for The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre, said: “It is always interesting to hear about the lives of the people who work here at The Grange and Pyramids because so much goes on outside of their work time with us.

“Heather’s achievements are remarkable and the fact she is also finding the time to pass on her dancing enthusiasm and skills to a younger generation is fantastic. I shall be keeping my fingers crossed for success at the world championships.”

Her aunt, Jackie Pell, said: “As a child, Heather had a heart defect but she was successfully operated on when she was five years old.

“Although she never let the heart problem stop her dancing, the operation made her much better and she went on to take numerous honours, including winning the British Isles Championship when she seven. Later, she became European champion and successfully defended her title
over a number of years.

“I am very proud of her because she is a remarkable young woman. During the day she has her full-time job at The Perfume Shop and in her spare time helps at my stage school.

“She gives 100 per cent to everything she does and as a dance teacher passes on her dedication and commitment to our young pupils.

“Six of our youngsters from Starmaker are through to freestyle championships, which will be held in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on June 28 and 29. This is a very prestigious event and our girls will be taking on the best from many countries, some from as far away as South Africa.

“Heather is a shining example to our pupils and it is thanks to them they have gone this far.”

The girls heading for Blackpool are Molly Duggan, eight, and her 12-year-old sister Morgan Duggan, both from Prenton, Megan Fellows, 16, from Wallasey, and Brooke Brewerton, 12, Lauren Rowlands, 14, and 16-year-old Danielle Mullen, who are all from Rhyl.

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