A woman who was named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list has been presented with her British Empire Medal (BEM) by one of the county’s deputy lieutenants.
Margaret Jaffe, 90, received her BEM fromJohn Henderson, a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, in recognition of a lifetime devoted to dance.
Mrs Jaffe, who retired just six years ago, established Skipton’s Northern Dance Centre, ran classes in Grassington, Skipton, Ilkley and Bradford and was in demand as a judge all over the world.
An expert on European folk dance, folk music and folklore she and her husband, former concert pianist Nigel Allenby-Jaffe, have written informative and inspirational books on European folk dance, its costume and history.
Past students, during her 50 years as a teacher, include many now-professional dancers, including David Gayle , founder of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars, and Hannah Coates who is a soloist with Hamburg Ballet in Germany.
Mrs Jaffe's love of dance started during World War Two when, still a student at Skipton Girls' High School, she joined the Northern Command Voluntary Entertainments Services, entertaining troops at bases across the North.
After the war, she completed teaching exams in ballet, modern, tap and national dance, and also studied the piano at the Royal Manchester College of Music. Together with her husband, she set up the Dixon Philip Stage School in Grassington. Branches soon followed in the surrounding villages, developing into the Skipton-based Northern Dance Centre and in 1960 they took over the estab-lished Braybooks Academy in Bradford.
They also set up a summer ballet school in North Jutland for the Danish education authorities - paving the way for the Northern Lights Theatre Group to begin its travels.
In 1999, to mark her life-long work Margaret was awarded the Imperial Award for Dance, a prize which she described at the time as "the Oscars of the dance world".
The school set up by Margaret and her husband, is now run by former pupil, Amy Addison.