A determined Irish dancer from Dulwich won the Seamus and Marie Moore Championship despite hurting her foot days before the competition.
Jessica O’Hara, twelve, a dancer from Hopkins Academy of Irish Dance, based in Dulwich, beat other dancers from around the country in Hertfordshire over the competition weekend.
A hard worker, Jessica attends lessons four times a week and regularly gives up her weekends to travel to competitions, to help her reach her goal of becoming the Great Britain Champion.
Jessica said: “They called out the results in reverse order, and when I got to the bottom two, I was certain the girl next to me would win.
“When they called out second place and it wasn’t my number, my heart stopped for a few seconds, I turned to my amazing mum, and burst into tears.
“I had won! It was only my seventh ever championship – I couldn’t believe it! I was competing against girls who had been doing championships for years and I had only just starting competing as a novice dancer just over a year ago.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my fabulous dance teachers, Sarah Hopkins and Tony Tyrrell, my dance family (all of Hopkins Academy), and my real family. The support I get is phenomenal. Thanks to everyone at the Hopkins Academy of Irish dance!”
Sarah Hopkins, Jessica’s teacher, said: “The second she walked through my door I knew there was something special about her. I knew she had what it took to be a champion.
“Some may say I push her a little too hard, but having toured the world with Riverdance for five years, I know what it takes to achieve your dreams in this industry.”