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MIKE AND SUE: Dance group bids farewell to two beloved members after 40 years

 Published on: 19th March 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

After 40 years of service, the longest-standing members of a Rickmansworth-based morris dancing group have stepped back due to health problems.

Mike Stimpson proposed to Sue only two weeks after the pair met, back in 1975. Over the last 48 years, the happy couple have led Phoenix Morris and travelled around the country on a 1970s narrowboat, the interior of which Mike built himself.

The former chairman of the Rickmansworth & District Residents’ Association recalls spontaneously visiting a house in Rickmansworth which was for sale. The couple ended up buying the house – which Mike thought offered plenty of space for his model railway set – and have lived there ever since.

When the couple weren’t travelling, they volunteered much of their time at Phoenix Morris. Mike became the group’s bagman, or secretary, in 1983, and then its squire in 1985. Sue performed as both a musician and dancer and took on the additional role of foreman, or teacher.

The pair only stepped back from their many local commitments after Sue was sadly diagnosed with a serious illness.

Mike said: “We spent all our money travelling all over Europe. We went to the south of France every summer and Switzerland every winter.

“I don’t have much of a pension as a result, but I’m glad because Sue and I enjoyed every minute!”

Despite trying to step back from public life, Mike has recently found himself on the board of the newly formed Batchworth Boat Rally.

Meanwhile, the other 39 members of Phoenix Morris have thanked Mike and Sue for their years of loyalty by presenting them with a tree to plant in their garden and a framed photograph of the couple in their morris dancing kit. That photograph, says Mike, stands proudly on the couple’s mantlepiece.

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