How it all began!
In September 1977, Tom Signiski organised a Hoe-Down at the Menwith Hill U.S. base near Harrogate. Tom and his wife Ann had graduated with Cloverleaf Squares in Bradford in the summer of 1977. John and Jackie White, and Ray and Olive Blackburn were judges for their graduation. They were invited to the Hoe-Down, and subsequently the first Beginner Class was held in October 1977 at the Recreation Centre at Menwith Hill. With this being a new club, they danced to tapes.
There were eight Americans and twenty-three English.
The name of the new club was discussed with all the members, and the name decided upon was White Rose Squares. (which referred to the White Rose of Yorkshire as in the War of the Roses) The banner and badges were also discussed : all members had a say in the final design and colour. The Americans were keen to have "Harrogate - England" incorporated into the design, so that they could have badges to take home with them.
In March 1978, Harry and Jean Preston were invited by Tom to Menwith Hill on a Club Night to call a dance up to the Basic 50 moves. It was felt this would keep the interest of the beginners, and indeed, the dance was a huge success. Harry was the first live caller the group had danced to since the club was formed.
The first graduation was held in the summer of 1978 at The Memorial Hall, Pateley Bridge and the caller was Al Green.
Soon after, Tom and Ann had completed their stay in England, and returned to Maryland U.S.A.
A Committee was formed shortly after with Cliff Hopes as Chairman. Lillian Convery, Jackie White, John White, John Pratten and Jerry Long were also members of this first committee. (Jackie to be a committee member for some ten years - on and off).
As Tom and Ann had returned to the States, we were unable to use Menwith Hill and a new venue was sought. Beckwithshaw Village Hall was our first Club Venue.
The Banner was designed by Reu Jackson and was hand sewn by Arlene Munson. All members had a say in the final design and colour.
The Club has seen well over 300 dancers pass through its doors.
Sixty are still dancing at White Rose, and around 100 are still dancing.
Sadly a few have passed away.