A Banstead folk dance club which began with a ‘wind-up’ gramophone in a meadow is now celebrating its 90th birthday this year.

Banwood Folk Dance Club was led by Spencer Ranger and a ‘small group of enthusiasts’, during 1928, when they began learning traditional folk dances in Woodmansterne Lane.

Now based in St Anne’s Church Hall, in Brighton Road, special dances are being organised to commemorate the milestone, with the first attended by more than 50 members and guests.

Alan Wilson, Banwood Folk Dance Club’s chairman, said: “It’s an enjoyable club. One of the things that I stress about it is that it’s a very friendly club, people have commented about how helpful everybody is.

“A lot of people come to things like folk dancing not knowing anything about it but think, ‘We’ll go and have a look’.

“They’re going to get it wrong in the beginning – we’re still getting it wrong after all these years – but it’s the attitude of the people in the club that is important, I’d like to stress, because they’re very helpful to newcomers.”

Mr Wilson has been the club’s chairman for more than ten years and first joined it with his wife, Margot, during the early 1990s.

Now retired and living in Selsdon, he recalls the time his partner of 57 years encouraged him to participate in things like folk dancing despite feeling tired after work.

But he has praised the positive effects of the hobby since joining, both the physical and social inclusion.

Mr Wilson added: “You don’t worry about your gas bills or what your neighbour is doing when you’re out there trying to find your partner in a mass of people having a good laugh.

“We [Mr and Mrs Wilson] also go to a lot of major festivals throughout the country but when you got to the big festivals and when it goes wrong, people dissolve into pearls of laughter. There’s no aggro.

“Where in the world, when things go wrong, could you find people laughing about it? Not very often!”

Better financial footing has also meant the club has live music during some events around two or three times a year, bringing in guests from other clubs in surrounding areas, while callers are now ‘expanding their repertoire’ to include more variety.

Banwood Folk Dance Club was formed following the merger of two ‘distinct’ groups, Banstead Country Dance Club and Woodmansterne Folk Dance Club, with the latter joining in 1982, leading to its current name.

The club meets at St Ann’s Church Hall, in Brighton Road, every Wednesday at 8pm.