A 95-year-old RAF veteran became the first person to dance at a newly-opened nightclub – 74 YEARS after meeting his wife there.
Sprightly Kevin Topham took to the dancefloor to jive with his carer when Club X reopened after more than a decade in Newark, England, last weekend.
The grandad-of-one was adamant he wanted to go back to the venue as he remembered dancing there in the 1940s when it was known as the Corn Exchange.
Kevin from Edingley, England, met his late wife Molly at the club in 1949 when it was a hotspot for servicemen to go dancing.
It was during an RAF dance that the retired airman and oil rig worker wooed Molly, and the couple went on to have happy married life and two children together.
Kevin noticed the venue was being reopened in his local newspaper and asked his part-time carer Donna Harvey whether she would take him there dancing.
Despite being warned there would be “booming music,” strobe lighting and “full of 18-year-olds” the pensioner was undeterred.
Donna asked the club if Kevin could come in for a boogie and the owner was willing to oblige – even giving him the dancefloor to himself and a choice of song.
Kevin was the first person through the doors at 8 pm on Saturday night (July 1) and danced to Chattanooga Choo Choo by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Donna said: “It was just amazing, his face absolutely beamed.
“It was just so humbling and it melted my heart because it made him happy
“All of his memories came flooding back to him, I didn’t realize that’s where he’d met his wife.
“He put on his medals and he talked about how all the Americans stationed nearby would come in and there would be fights over who could dance with the women.”
“When we got there he asked where the piano was, bless him, because when he used to go there was a live band.
“It was just so humbling and heartwarming. He hasn’t stopped talking about it.”
Donna said Kevin had asked her what she was doing that coming Saturday and then explained he wanted to take her out dancing.
She added: “I said I couldn’t take him because it would be full of 18-year-olds with loud music and strobe lighting and he wouldn’t be able to hear himself think.
“I said ‘Kevin, it will be nothing like it was in 1949’. But he just kept asking me about it – he was determined.”
“I thought if I didn’t take him he’s probably going to get in his car and go, which I didn’t want him to do, so I had to make sure he was safe.
“So when I was down there and saw the door of the club open, I went to go and see the manager.
“There was no umming and ahhing, the manager just said to bring him down at 8 pm and that’s what we did, anything to make him happy.”
Kevin’s daughter, Karen Mason, said her dad had always loved dancing and found the whole event “quite emotional.”
Karen, 65 a teacher, said: “He saw the story about the Corn Exchange where he met my mother. He said he wanted to go with Donna.
“When he got there he couldn’t remember his favorite song so he settled for Chattanooga Choo Choo by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The owner was so good.
“Everyone thinks nightclubs are for the younger generation but why not have older people there?
“I think it was an emotional evening for him, it was for me. I found it quite emotional. He said ‘It’s changed a bit’. And ‘it’s got fluorescent lights.’
“When he was in an RAF base and they brought all these women in on the bus, he’s always been a ladies’ man.”
“The new owners clearly care for their community, not just the young people but older members too.
“Donna is an exceptional carer and it was just a lovely thing for them to do.”
The club has since said it was inspired by Kevin and is looking at introducing an over-60s event each month where they will play music from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Asad Ali
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