History of Wells Folk Dance Club

Wells Folk Dance Club was run by Val and Simon Knight from 1983 until September 1993 in the rehearsal room of Wells Little Theatre. In September 1993 they announced that they were changing from English Folk Dancing to Irish Set Dance. This left some members in a void as they did not wish to make this change.

In 1993 Brian Salway who was a caller from Bristol, retired to live in Wells. Brian was persuaded by Unity Barrett and Peter and Ama Bolton to start the club at the Portway Annex in Wells. Brian's conditions for running the club was that it was his club and the only assistance he required was the handling of the money by an independent member. Brian did not want to have a club committee.

Legislation changes concerning access for disadvantaged people, insurance and performing rights led Brian to accept that a club administrator should handle these matters as well as finance. David Beavis undertook these responsibilities and continued in this role until March 2012.

At the end of May 2004 Brian was taken ill and died suddenly. Two of the regular visiting callers, Roy Phillips and Ron Rudd, encouraged the members of the club to continue in the way that Brian had run the club. Roy and Ron came in June 2004 to call until the close for the summer break.

Members had agreed to continue with a weekly programme from September until the end of the following June; John Davis planned a programme of callers for this period.

The club had been advised by Somerset Adult Learning and Leisure that the Portway Annex would not be available from September 2004. Brian had already decided to move to Dinder Village Hall. It was also recognised by members that we needed to expand our membership and a recruitment drive was planned to coincide with the move and new format of callers devised by John Davis.

This has been the most successful change and at one time we had to limit the membership to 60 as that was the most we could accommodate at Dinder Village Hall.