AN EXERCISE enthusiast has been given an unusual boost in her cancer battle thanks to a set of local line dancing classes.

Geraldine Dennis, 73, played a key role in setting up the regular class at 1610 in Jarman Way as it helps provide a lifeline of support in her remission from cancer.

In 2011, Geraldine was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bowel cancer, and at that time she was told by her doctors that the dangerous cancer was terminal.

Tumours had been detected in her liver, and the Chard lady was given a maximum of two years to live.

She was treated with chemotherapy and operated on so that the tumours shrank and battled back to a stage where she has been cancer free since her last operation five years ago.

“I have always loved line dancing and I kept going to line dancing classes even when I was having chemotherapy,” said Geraldine.

“I was back dancing a month after my bowel tumour operation, and then as often as I could between my liver operations sometimes with a drain, tied around my thigh, under my jeans.

“I suggested setting up a class at 1610 Chard when other classes closed elsewhere and it is very popular with everyone here, all ages.”

Line dancing is a choreographed dance with a repeated sequence of steps an couples facing each other in rows.

It is often associated with American Western music.

Geraldine added: “It is the best overall exercise for mind and body, you have to concentrate on the new moves and it is a very sociable way of keeping fit.”

Geraldine says that keeping active with line dancing has helped her keep a positive approach to her recovery from cancer treatment and it is an important part of her life.

“I am not the sort of person who can sit in a chair and look at the wall; I always say that you have to just keep dancing,” she said.

“It is not just for country music fans, we dance to Michael Buble and other sorts of music so younger members of the gym come along and join us after they have worked out.

“It is so much fun and it really gives you a boost.”

Trish Bishop, general manager of 1610, said that classes in Line Dancing and the gentle martial art of Tai Chi have really taken off at the centre.

She also said that Geraldine’s story shows how dance and movement can have a real impact on health.

Trish added: “We have seen real demand here for line dancing and Tai Chi as both disciplines are low impact and promote flexibility, strength and balance.

“They are such enjoyable and sociable activities and Geraldine is a real inspiration to us all here that keeping active and having a positive approach to life is the best way forward.”

Line dancing is available at 1610 Chard in Jarman Way on Wednesdays at 11.30am and on Fridays at 6.30pm.

Tai Chi is available at the leisure centre at 11.30am on Tuesdays.

For more information, call 01460 494020.