Ravin' Stompers Line Dance Club started in 2005 when the school children used to see Heulwen Astley leave her house in her sparkly jacket and cowboy boots to go dancing - the school children came into her shop insisting that they wanted to do it too, and after much pushing from Heulwen's sister Liz, she gave in and agreed and the Ravin' Stompers were born!
With three classes held each week in regular locations, the Ravin' Stompers cover a big patch of North Cardiganshire!
Since they were having so much fun going to festivals and socials all over the country, the Ravin' Stompers decided to start their own socials and raise some money for good causes. Several members of the Club had lost relatives and friends to Breast Cancer and it was decided to raise money for the Bronglais Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund (Bronglais Hospital is the local hospital in Aberystwyth).
The first charity event was held at the Marine Hotel, Aberystwyth back in February 2005. Paul Bailey entertained the crowds and kept the dance floor full. A grand total of £3,900 was raised on the night and since a local young lad had recently succumbed to cancer it was decided to split the proceeds between Cancer Care and the Bronglais Breast Cancer Fund
Towards the latter part of 2005, several raffles were held. Heulwen is a local shop keeper and Post Mistress and was therefore able to raffle several items at her shop. These items ranged from an adult Mountain Bike to a large teddy dressed in a cowboy outfit. This led into January of 2006 and a social night held at Llety Gwyn Hotel, Aberystwyth in the company of Paul Bailey and the Country Kittens, with a cheque for £2,550 being presented to the Cancer Fund.
In April of 2007, the Ravin' Stompers decided to do a sponsored line dance which lasted for five hours and tested several member's fitness. A few weeks later they organised a social event at the Rugby Club in Aberystwyth where live music was provided by the fantastic Vegas Country Duo. A cheque for £3,800 was presented to the Charity.
August Bank Holiday 2007 saw the Ravin' Stomper's 1st ever outdoor line dance event at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth to raise even more money for Breast cancer The two live artists were the fantastically talented and friendly Carl Shay and Bobby D Sawyer The festival was a free festival and money for the Charity was raised on the day from a Tombola stall and by selling ‘Win or Lose' tickets. A grand raffle was also drawn on the day. Passers-by were encouraged to put their loose change in collecting buckets.
Later that year in November, the Club decided to give line dancers a challenge by holding a Welsh evening where a popular Welsh Country and Western Duo (John ac Alun) entertained. The dance floor was full all evening which proves that you can line dance to Welsh Country & Western. A cheque for £1,800 was presented to the Charity which meant that the Club had raised a staggering £10,000 over the last three years.
In April 2008, we organised a social evening at the RAFA Club in Aberystwyth. The live artist for the evening was Paul Bailey which we thought wouldn't stop singing. It's always a pleasure to have him at our Social events and we therefore decided to ask him back for our Festival in the Summer.
Since the 2007 Festival was a huge success and we had received several requests to hold the event for two days, it was decided to organise a two-day Festival. August Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday 2008 saw the second Ravin' Stompers free Country & Western Festival held at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth. Entertaining the crowds were B J Locklin, Paul Bailey and Donna Wylde. We were blessed with the weather since that weekend was the only dry weekend in August! We had a tombola stall, ‘Win or Lose' Tickets and held Irish Bingo on both days and visitors were encouraged to dip into their pockets and put any loose change into collecting buckets. A grand raffle was drawn on the second day. Sandra Speck wrote and taught a special dance for the Festival called Bandstand Boogie.
A social evening was held in October at the RAFA Club in Aberystwyth where a cheque for £3,348 was presented to the Breast Cancer Charity. Following in Sandra's footsteps, we wrote a special dance called More of You that was taught by Heulwen that evening. It was called More of You since we need more dancers (both experienced and beginners) to come and join us in our classes and our charity events so that we can raise even more money for this worthy cause. This is the first dance we've choreographed and it would be so good if other dance instructors out there could teach this dance and encourage line dancers to support all charity events.
At the end of 2008, a grand total of £13,348 has been given to Bronglais Breast Cancer Care. The money has been used to open a four-bedder ward at the hospital to treat Breast Cancer patients. The Ravin' Stompers are very proud to have been able to raise money for such a worthy cause.
We are in the process of writing another dance for our next social which will a Christmas event held on 20th December at Talybont Village Hall, Aberystwyth with Johnny Holland. Plans are also being drawn up to hold out third free Summer festival at the Promenade in Aberystwyth on Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday. Paul Bailey has already been booked for both days.
Click Here to view the dance 'More Of You' the Ravin' Stompers have written for their Breast Cancer Charity.