Ted Hunter on his love of dancing has helped him through the years.
I was born and bred in Leeds. Saville Green School, which used to be on Torre Road. Grew up in east Leeds. I started driving young. I once got into trouble with me Dad. My friends were egging me on, so I took his car for a drive round the estate. Little did I know he’d written down the mileage! And I’ve been a driver all my working life. No matter street you go down, no matter which corner you turn, there’s always something new. If you’re sat in an office, you’re looking at four walls and a typewriter. Life gets boring. I used to go down to London and up to Edinburgh. All over.
Ted, left with the dance group
I’ve had three brushes with death. When I was born I was a twin. My twin brother died of shingles. I had the shingles as well, but survived. I was a baby, in my mother’s arms. Whenever I saw my Mum, she’d tell me the story. Things always seem to happen to me. I had a fractured skull once. This was when I was in my 30s. I’d had too much to drink and jumped out of a cab. I fell over and hit my head on a kerb. Ambulance job. Before that I nearly got burnt to death. Used to work for a firm that made weaving machines on Kirkstall Road. I suffered serious burns.
I like Rock n Roll. I was brought up with it. Used to go to the 101 Club in Leeds, near the market. All you could hear was Rock n Roll, belting out as you walked past. I don’t understand people who can listen to that and just sit there and tap their knees or clap their hands. On my 80th birthday Yorkshire Dance threw a party for me. We were all just sat round eating cake. I went to the disc jockey and said, “Play some Rock n Roll. And you
just watch ‘em.” I’m talking about people aged 80, 85, 90, all sat down. The music came on and they all stood up. One bloke started moving his hips. I said, “Let’s see you doing more!” If you’re dancing to Rock n Roll you use every part of your body. Hips, arms, legs, spine, stomach. It’s fantastic for exercise. I let myself go.
I chat to people outside my gates. I spend hours out there. People ask me what I’m doing, I say “I’m not staying in!” It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, just a “morning” or a “did you see the match last night?” They will reply to you. And you’ve broken that barrier. Most of the time people don’t talk to each other because they don’t know what to say. They’ll sit in the house watching stupid television. I say, “you’re sat there and life is passing you by outside!” If you can get to your gate and just say hello to people as they go past, you’ll find yourself meeting all sorts.
I’m 81 in November. I’m so active usually. This lockdown has been horrendous to my brain. If someone offered me a million pounds to stay in lockdown I wouldn’t take it. I need to get out! I’ve seen enough of East End Park! I’m ok physically, I do my exercises in the front garden. But it was my mind that was going. I’ve two sons and a daughter. They came round on Father’s Day with two Toblerones and some breakfast cereal. My daughter brought me a big pork pie with ‘Happy Father’s Day’ on it. The pie was the size of a football! I’m looking forward to getting back to normal. But what is normal? So many people have been volunteering to help people. When it’s over, they’ll think, “what now”? It’ll hit them hard. When I can get back to Yorkshire Dance, that’s when I’ll be happy. Rocking, rolling, twisting my body, you can’t beat it.
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