The dance world is mourning the loss of a true legend following the death of West Norfolk’s ballroom doyenne Peggy Spencer this week.
The woman who sparked the nation’s love affair with ballroom dancing as the queen of Come Dancing passed away at Millbridge Nursing Home in Heacham on Wednesday, at the age of 95.
She died in the arms of her daughter Helena Anderson, who paid a moving tribute yesterday.
She said her mother “slipped away peacefully” wearing her sparkly shawl and sparkly gloves, and wearing her favourite perfume, while listening to Ross Mitchell’s waltzes in the background.
In a tribute on social media, she added: “She was an icon to so many people, her pupils, her colleagues and friends she made through the years, but to me she was mum, and it was and is a privilege to be her daughter.
“Her greatest satisfaction was not to meet royalty or train champions, but to teach absolute beginners, who said they had two left feet, and give them enough knowledge and courage to dance at a wedding or on holiday, and enjoy their lives more.
“In later years, her grandchildren and great grandchildren were her delight and joy.”
Peggy, MBE, who had lived with her daughter in Lynn until four months ago, started teaching dancing in air raid shelters in World War Two to keep people’s spirits up and continued to teach in the Lynn area until just two years ago.
She spent a lifetime on the dance floor, working with some of the biggest names in showbusiness, and was a household name herself through her long involvement with the BBC’s Come Dancing as a choreographer and judge.
Her credits include choreographing a dance sequence for the Beatles video, Your Mother Should Know, and the tango for Rudolph Nureyev in the film Valentino. She was also awarded a This Is Your Life red book, by Michael Aspall, in 1993.
As was her prestige in the dancing world, Peggy was also asked to present the now famous Strictly Come Dancing when it launched in 2004, but she turned it down saying it deserved younger presenters.
Hundreds of people have paid tribute to Peggy on social media, with many commenting on how privileged they feel to have been taught by her and how she shaped so many lives.
One former student said: “She was a beautiful, strict, but fun-loving lady who shared her love of dance with all she met.”