A COUPLE from East Lancashire have waltzed their way to success and been named British Sequence Dancing Champions.

Dance partners Philip Rawcliffe, 20, from Lower Darwen, and Hannah Roberts, 21, from Burnley, beat 20 pairs to be crowned the best amateur sequence dancers aged 16 to 35.

Sequence dancing is a more traditional form of ballroom where pairs perform a set dance and are judged on it, as opposed to each pair choosing their own dance.

The pair were cheered on by their families at the national competition at the Empress Ballroom at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

Hannah, a former Nelson and Colne College student, said: “All my family were there, they were all really proud and were crying! Even my dad was, he gets the worst.”

They met when they both joined Sanderson Dance and Fitness Centre in Nelson around 10 years ago and have been competing together ever since.

Hannah said: “We got on really well and everything just flowed so it made sense for us to stick together.”

Philip, a former St Wilfrid’s High School pupil, and Hannah have been encouraged to go professional, but have decided to retire from big competitions for a year to concentrate on the final legs of their degrees.

Both study at Lancaster University, with Hannah in her third and final year of a psychology degree and Philip undertaking his third year of a four-year masters in nuclear engineering She said: “We will still do uni comps but we thought it was a good time to stop and con- centrate on our degrees. I would rather keep dance fun and not go professional, but I will be upset when I have to miss competitions.

“I don’t like to talk about myself dancing too much – people are always surprised when they find out.

“Not like, Phil, though, he loves to boast about it!”

Philip said: “Strictly Come Dancing has made what we do seem cooler and we get more recognition now for what we do.”

The pair will be returning to Blackpool Tower in February for a university competition, where they danced separately before they were 16.

Hannah said: “It will be weird dancing there after all these years and after how far we’ve come.

“It’ll be really good and nostalgic.”