Vale: Brian Cumming

>From Mon Mar 12 08:58 EST 2001
>To: "Don Herbison-Evans"
>Subject: from Brian Cumming
>Looking forward to doing battle with you on Saturday.
>Should I wear my wet suit and flippers?
>The girls will be in bikinis.

Sadly, I will get no more fanciful emails from Brian as he died in a car accident on 3rd February 2004. When we first met him, he was another grand-senior (read: Masters II) who decided that the problems of advancing years were not going to stop him dancing, and he was always keen to cross the Tasman and show us how to do it.

Anna and I were much encouraged by his enthusiasm. His spirited shouting figures loudly on the videos taken of us doing some of our more esoteric dances.

We first met Brian some years ago at the New Zealand Masters Games in Wanganui, where in the Dancesport section, the age groupings allowed old dinosaurs like us to compete on equal terms with others of our era, with no youthful 50-year-olds scampering about underfoot. So when Jenny and Alex Gaudron started competitions here in Australia with similar age groupings, Brian was here like a shot.

He advertised for an Australian partner just for that specific competition, then came over from Rotorua the week beforehand for some practice with her. Lyndall Grant took on this challenge.

Brian had been dancing all his life. He was the first pupil of Irene Oliver when she first opened her studio in Rotorua, and stayed with that studio for nearly 50 years. In New Zealand, he danced with many partners, including Ruby Conway, Leslie Kaye and Donna Warren.

He competed in all four styles: Old Time, Standard, New Vogue and Latin. He achieved Open status in Old Time, and recently had been working hard on his Latin. He won many competitions and championships in New Zealand, and was a finalist in a number of overseas events. He much loved his dancing, often practising solo for an hour or more. But he was also very sociable and a great mixer. He danced also in Irene Oliver's Dance Team.

He loved the countryside and horse racing, and in between his activities of selling cars and dancing, he ran a farm on the outskirts of Rotorua where he trained his beloved Goldie and Starie.

He leaves behind his brother George and his family, and many saddened dancers on both sides of the Tasman.