Meet the dancing gran from Kent raising thousands for charity and tackling loneliness

  • Meet Debbie Forsyth who has been nominated as one of ITV Meridian's Pride of Britain regional fundraiser of the year.

A grandmother from Kent who set up dance classes for over 40s to help combat loneliness has raised more than £15,000 for charity.

Debbie Forsyth set up the Midlife Movers in summer 2022, and now her hard work has been recognised, as the 55-year-old has been nominated as one of ITV Meridian's Pride of Britain fundraiser of the year.

Debbie's classes have become so popular she now hosts 11 classes across Kent every week.

More than 350 over 40s take part at venues in Margate, Ramsgate and Birchington every week.

"It was only meant to be a speaker and let's see who wants to dance once a week," Debs revealed.

"Somehow these wonderful people - for them, what we're doing is changing things outside of their circle for everybody else.

"I wish I could bottle it, the spirit of it all is absolutely amazing."

Hundreds of people attend Debbie's classes at venues across Kent every week. Credit: ITV Meridian

Debbie's daughter has described her mum as 'amazing'. Betsy Forsyth said: "When the Midlife Movers come up to me and they tell me how amazing your mum is.

"I sit back and think, yeah she is, I'm so proud of her."

It's not just dance classes that Debbie hosts - she's organised many other fundraisers, including cake sales and quiz nights.

Debbie even set up a flash mob in Hyde Park and her efforts have not gone unoticed.

As well as raising thousands of pounds for charity,

  • Debbie even organised a flash mob in London's Hyde Park for charity.

After finding out some of her dancers were affected by cancer, Debbie organised a charity calendar featuring the group to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Dancer Gwyn Nicolson attends Debbie's classes and has been affected by the disease herself.

In February she lost her husband to the disease, as well as having tumours of her own removed.

"Debbie was always there, texting, sending flowers," Gwyn said.

"Even though there's hundreds of us, she always thinks of somebody else before herself."

Debbie has organised a charity calendar featuring some of the dancers to fundraise for Cancer Research UK. Credit: Midlife Movers

The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards celebrates the unsung heroes who go above and beyond to make their communities and the country a better place.

Nominated by the public, the winners come from all walks of life, of all ages, and from all over the country. They will come together with stars from television for a glittering ceremony in London, broadcast on ITV.

Among them will be two winners from the Meridian region, picked from a shortlist of inspiring nominees.

Each day this week – on our 6pm programme and online – we'll showcase those who are in the running. The winner will be revealed on Friday's programme.

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