Former businesswoman hosts Valentine dance for people who might otherwise be alone
Supporters who twirled the evening away during a Valentine dance at the Heacham public hall on Saturday night fulfilled a dream for the event’s organiser.
When Nikki Hastie was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME, it forced her to close her successful business cleaning properties including second homes and holiday lets.
But now, she is working with others in a similar situation and the event fulfilled her ambition to do something to help people like her.
Miss Hastie said she felt like “my life had ended” when she was diagnosed with the condition and had to give up her work.
She said: “My life just fell apart. I had started it seven years previously and it was going from strength to strength. But when I was diagnosed with ME I had to give it up.
“It was so life-changing, you’ve no idea how miserable I was. I didn’t get out, I felt isolated and I didn’t know how to adjust to being ill.”
Miss Hastie is now working to help other people in her situation after friends provided her with a lifeline by suggesting volunteering at the Hunstanton library, which brought her back into contact with other people.
She said: “It completely changed my life. I no longer felt isolated and I got my life back.”
The dance was the culmination of her ambition to do something for the many people who, like her, feel apart from society such as widows and widowers living alone, those who are disabled but have no family to support them and elderly people without a family because their children have died or those who have simply just moved to the area.
She said: “It was my idea but I could not have done it without the help of friends Sandy Thorpe and Roger Newstead.
“My dream was, with help, to put on something like this to show that you can come out, even by yourself, and we can offer support so that you can mix with others - and then you find you are no longer isolated.”
Although the evening was not intended as a fundraiser, any profits that are generated will be shared between the Hunstanton library and the West Norfolk Disability Information Service.
Already people in the Hunstanton area who feel they are alone are benefiting in another way.
With the backing of the Hunstanton library, who supported her efforts by printing posters for her dance, there are weekly Friday coffee mornings.
She also hopes to organise four dances a year with the next planned to take place at the Heacham public hall on June 9.
Miss Hastie hopes to make use of platforms including social media to promote future events.