TWO sisters from Rishton have a spring in their step after qualifying for the World Irish Dance Championships in the United States at Easter.

Teenagers Sorcha, 17, and Niamh Yates, 13, have fulfilled a lifelong dream reaching the finals and in doing so have confirmed their places in the world’s top one per cent of dancers in their respective age groups.

Sorcha is a student at St Mary’s College, Blackburn, while Niamh attends St Augustine’s High School in Billington.

Now the pair are looking for help in making their dream to compete in Greensboro in North Carolina a reality.

Proud father Neil said “We are delighted for the girls in qualifying for this dream trip together. Doing so is enormous testament to their hard work and commitment.

“Even when they are not at class you can regularly feel the floor shake as they practise for hours in the cellar.

“We are so grateful to their dance teachers, past and present, for their expertise and inspiration and also hugely appreciative of St Augustine’s High School’s support of their dancing careers over several years.

“Unfortunately success comes at a cost and for both girls and their mum to travel to America we are looking at having to raise around £4,000.

“Their dance school and family have been extremely generous but any local businesses who would like to sponsor their travelling kit or support them in any other way would be very welcome and much appreciated.”

It will be the first time the sisters will dance together outside the British Isles.

They started dancing in their infancy under Blackburn-based dance teacher Siobhan Clarke. The girls are now members of the Loughran School of Irish Dancing based in Liverpool, under the expert eye of Rebecca Loughran.

They travel to practise three nights per week and they regularly compete in the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland.

Neil added: “Both of them have Irish roots. Sorcha says she enjoyed it from the beginning because she found it easy to pick up the steps and dance to the music's rhythm. Niamh literally followed in her sister’s footsteps.

“It would be devastating not to be able to go.

“Both are proud of their achievements but hugely grateful to their teachers, family, school, and friends for their support over several years.

Any company who can help can contact Neil on