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Good bye and Good Luck Down Under, Sheila!!
Farewell to Sheila Hanks

In March of this year, after 30 years as a Berkshire KFA member, Sheila said goodbye to classmates in Wokingham as she and her husband set off to join family in Australia.

Sheila says:

"I have been involved with keep fit for about 45 years. After being in the Eastern Counties for 15 years I joined Berkshire KFA when I moved here and have been a member for 30 years.

I took part in two Royal Albert Hall demonstrations and also in the Championships on one occasion.

I love doing keep fit and will miss it lots. The friendliness and camaraderie are tremendous and I enjoyed being a tea lady at the rallies. I shall miss all the friends I have made, particularly my teacher, Jeanette Hughes."

Before Sheila left, Members of the Berkshire KFA Committee joined Jeanette's Woosehill Class to add their thanks for the years of voluntary help Sheila has cheerfully given at KFA events and to wish her every happiness in her new home.

March 2016

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Email from Sheila Hanks in Australia

It's all good here apart from the weather which, of course, is now winter - quite cold and rain at times. We are told it starts to warm about end of August. I am going to zumba classes for the over 55s, also exercises to music and we have started going to indoor bowling which we really enjoy, everyone is so friendly. I miss my keep fit back home though and all the girls. Remember me to them!

June 2016

Jill Hibbitt

It was with great sadness that we learned of the loss of our friend and KFA staunch supporter, Jill Hibbitt, who passed away peacefully on 3 January 2016. Many friends and colleagues joined Jill’s family at Easthampstead Park Crematorium on 19 January to pay their last respects to Jill, a much loved KFA teacher and trainer for many years.

Jill had taught many types of KFA classes, including mums 'n' toddlers and seated. Several years ago whilst still at the height of her KFA teaching career, she was struck down with rheumatoid arthritis. In typical Jill fashion, she came to terms with her new physical limitations, managed the pain and battled through several joint replacements. She continued to teach, concentrating on seated classes, using her wealth of knowledge, teaching experience and creativity to motivate her class members.

Those who only knew Jill in recent times will, no doubt, remember the display items she performed in with members of her seated class at Berkshire's Diamond event and subsequent Christmas event in 2014. Proof, if needed, that seated classes can be hard work, good fun and creative when using inspiring music.

Jill was president of Southern Counties KFA for several years until the structural change and was Chairman of Berkshire a few years before that.

One of my lasting memories of Jill will always be from 1986. We were both performing in a Southern Counties Regional Display Team at the National KFA Festival at the Royal Albert Hall. The display was a character item called "The Streets of London" calling for various forms of attire including a pearly king and queen. Jill was a street urchin boy and I shall never forget her performing a series of perfect cartwheels up the centre of the Royal Albert Hall arena. It brings a smile to my face every time I remember it.

Jill was a supportive, very knowledgeable and truly inspirational teacher who will be greatly missed by many of us.

Shirley Stallwood
January 2016

Jill "The Street Urchin"

Volunteer of the Year Award 2017 - closing date for nominations 31 July.

Do you know one of these people?

  • Someone who is always willing and offering to give a helping hand to other class members or teachers or committees or at events.
  • Someone who makes things happen.
  • Someone who is a great organiser.
  • Someone who "goes the extra mile".
  • Someone who makes being part of the KFA an especially pleasant experience for others.
  • Someone who works hard to promote the KFA.
  • Someone who doesn't just have ideas but acts on them.
  • Someone who ... well, you get the idea.

If you know a someone who deserves to be recognised and thanked,
please click here to download a nomination form.

The KFA National Volunteer of the Year Awards are presented at the National KFA AGM in October.

The categories:

  • Committee member
  • Member
  • Teacher

The winner will be selected from the finalists in each category.

Locally, regionally and nationally, the KFA relies on volunteers and cannot function without them.

Comment by a previous winner:
"it was a wonderful feeling to receive the award."

Jeanette Hughes receives her thank you

Thank you, Jeanette, for more than 30 years of training

Berkshire and Southern Counties were sad to receive the news that Regional Trainer Jeanette Hughes had decided it was time to resign. Jeanette had been a trainer for more than 30 years.

She continues to to be a Berkshire KFA Teacher taking several classes a week and will also remain on the Regional Committee as the Regional Training Chairman.

Southern Counties KFA presented Jeanette with a pendant and thanks for all her hard work during her time as a trainer.

October 2015

National cup awarded to Berkshire teacher

Many congratulations to Berkshire KFA teacher Jeanette Hughes on receiving a cup from the National KFA for the largest increase in membership during the year.

The cup was awarded at the 58th National AGM hosted by South Eastern Counties in October 2015.

October 2015

Jeanette Hughes with membership award

The KFA National Championships

“Exciting, rewarding, great team spirit” says Chris
"Awesome, amazing experience” says Ros

The Championships started 25 years ago and at the time everyone said
“We are not competitive – they will never work”.

I am pleased to say they were wrong! The Championships give the opportunity for our teachers and members to show their expertise in producing, choreographing, moving and dancing. Each year the standard gets higher and the judges have an unenviable task in choosing the winner(s).

The Championships started off in Peterborough and then moved to Blackpool and Southport. May 2015 saw a new venue - the “mini” Albert Hall in Nottingham, where the Southern Counties region was well represented with entries in the Solos, Duos, Trios, and Materials sections as well as the Movement & Dance section.

  • Congratulations go to Jeanette Hughes’s team in the Ribbons & Materials section where they were awarded third place.

  • Entrants in the Movement and Dance Duos section were of an exceptionally high standard. Jane Capers and Pauline McIntosh from Hampshire and Sam Tear and Emma Barnes also from Hampshire were awarded joint first place. Jane Capers and Sam Tear are mother and daughter so the trophy is well and truly kept in the family!

  • A third generation was added with Mary Whatley (mother to Jane and grandmother to Sam) who also entered a team in the Movement and Dance section.

The Championships are a biennial event and will take place in Nottingham in 2017.

Janet Richmond, Regional Membership Liaison Officer (RMLO)
June 2015

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Keeping It In the family

As our longest serving KFA member of more than 60 years, Jean Stallwood was presented with a bouquet of flowers at Berkshire KFA’s Diamond AGM in May 2014.

In addition to being a class member, Jean was a very popular, highly skilled and much sought after pianist in Berkshire KFA, also playing for Southern Counties KFA events. She was presented with Life Membership in 1997 for her services to Berkshire KFA. For many years Jean had been a tireless ambassador for Berkshire KFA – singing its praises to anyone who showed an interest. At events she was always circulating and chatting to members and guests, putting them at their ease and making them feel very welcome. The members were delighted when she was asked to be President of Berkshire KFA in 2004. She continued as President until 2009.

Jean said: “How wonderful it was to receive the bouquet of beautiful flowers. I couldn’t believe it was for me! The rest of the day is still a haze!!”

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Immediately after the presentation to Jean, her daughter Shirley was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award (including Life Membership) for her contribution to Berkshire KFA.

Shirley joined a KFA class at the age of 15, has been a member for 40 years and a teacher for 34 years. She has served on both the Executive and the Training Committees and has been webmaster since she designed and set up the Berkshire KFA website in 2004. She has also designed many of our event posters and programmes as well as promotional posters for our Berkshire teachers.

Shirley said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and quite overwhelmed – it hasn’t properly sunk in. The KFA has played a major role in my life and I can’t thank my mum enough for “dragging” me along to that first class. Fitness aside, the KFA offers an amazing outlet for creativity and friendship in a safe, nurturing environment. Becoming a teacher was the best decision I ever made. A change in my work career to marketing brought new skills which I have been very pleased to use for the benefit of Berkshire KFA.”

The Diamond Event
Event Reports

Presentations to Jean and Shirley Stallwood

Regional Outstanding Achievement Award for Berkshire's Janet Richmond - Oct 2013

Berkshire KFA was delighted and very proud when the region (Southern Counties KFA) presented our own Janet Richmond with a Regional Outstanding Achievement Award with Life Membership of the KFA. This was in recognition of Janet’s achievement and in appreciation of her hard work and commitment to the regional KFA Committee.

Janet has been a member of the KFA for 47 years, having joined a class soon after her daughter was born. She has served the Regional Committee for more years than anyone can remember and is currently the Regional Members Liaison Officer. This requires attending National Meetings and being the conduit between National, the Southern Counties Region and each of the five local Counties making up the region. This is a role Janet carries out very efficiently.

Janet has served on a number of Committees over the years, tirelessly contributing many voluntary hours to keep the KFA organised.

Presentation of Outstanding Achievement Award to Janet

Berkshire scoops TWO awards at the National AGM in 2013

Berkshire KFA were thrilled that two of its teachers received awards from the National KFA AGM in 2013.

Many congratulations to Eileen Bird who was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award - she is now a Life Member of the National KFA.

Many congratulations also to Jill Hibbitt who was the first winner of the Membership Champion Award.

Award presentations to Eileen and Jill

News from "down under"
with Viv Fitzpatrick, former Berkshire KFA Chairman

G'day from sunny Adelaide!

I cannot believe it's nearly a year since we left England for Australia! We have had a wonderfully exciting first year and have settled in really easily. Adam's job is going well and I have started teaching again! I have a small, but keen group (must be mad! ) and they have all been very supportive. They enjoy the class and have invited others to join us. Thankfully, the hall is air conditioned and has a sprung floor which makes it ideal for us to move around in.

I am learning the lingo and they're learning mine!! I have joined AusDance but it's nothing like the KFA. Of course, we miss friends and family, and I truly miss the camaraderie and fun I enjoyed for so many years with the KFA and its members! But, if my class goes from strength to strength, then I may well set up Keep Fit Australia - watch this space!

Keep Fit and best wishes to you all.

Vivienne xx
March 2010

Berkshire Keep Fit Association - Viv

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