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Come Dancing star Peggy Spencer dies aged 95

Published 26/05/2016

Peggy Spencer appeared on the BBC's Come Dancing
Peggy Spencer appeared on the BBC's Come Dancing

Come Dancing star Peggy Spencer has died at the age of 95.

Spencer was best known for her work as a choreographer and judge on the popular show, which spanned more than 40 years.

She was so popular that she was asked to host the revival Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, but turned it down saying producers should get someone younger.

Spencer's daughter Helena Anderson said her mother had been ill in hospital before her death.

She told the Press Association: "She was very poorly and I wanted to take her away. It was after four days that she passed away in a lovely environment with all her things around her.

"At the end it was very calm and peaceful and she had her glittery shawl and glittery gloves that she loves.

"I sprayed her with her favourite perfume and put some nice music on, the waltzes that she loved, and I sat and cuddled her. She gave a sigh and slipped away."

Ms Anderson added: "It was a wonderful age to get to and she was so well thought of and she achieved an awful lot."

As well as appearing on the long-running show, she taught Prince Rainier and Princess Grace to dance, performed for the Queen and choreographed a dance sequence for the Beatles.

Spencer, who lived in west Norfolk, told BBC Inside Out in 2009: "I had a telephone call from the Beatles one day, and he said 'this is Paul of the Beatles', and I thought someone was pulling my leg.

"And he said, 'Peggy, I've had a dream of a white staircase leading to heaven and the Beatles in white suits coming down the staircase followed by dancers in beautiful dresses. Can you get it together?'

"So I got the dancers together, the moment comes for filming. We go round to the back of the staircase and what do you think, there's no steps, no steps to get us to the top of the staircase for the dancers to come down, so we all had to go home while another staircase was built at the back."

She added: "Coming here to King's Lynn was quite different and finding the feelings of people, I realised how much I had done.

"I didn't realise it before, but I realised how much I've done, the hundreds of people I've taught and the great happiness it had brought."

Spencer started teaching dancing during World War Two and continued until late in life.

Come Dancing, which ran until 1998, saw separate regions of the UK competing for top prize.

Spencer received the This Is Your Life book in 1993.

As well as collecting countless dance trophies over the years, Spencer and her late husband Frank were both honoured by the Queen with an MBE.

Jason Gilkison, director of choreography on Strictly Come Dancing, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: " R.I.P the incredible Peggy Spencer - Ballroom legend and loveliest lady ... Such a great in our business..."

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