TWO TAMAR Valley friends who met through Zumba — with one helping the other to overcome serious health problems — are staging an epic dance event to raise funds for the air ambulance in both Devon and Cornwall.

Liz Lazenbury, of St Ann’s Chapel, met Gwennie Froment, who lives up near Launceston, after she came along to her Zumba classes in the Tamar Valley.

Gwennie has been through the mill with her health, suffering from leukaemia and inflammatory bowel disease. Having discovered a love of the dance craze, she has gone onto become a Zumba teacher herself.

And now the two friends will be giving something back — and inviting people to give Zumba a try — with a big Zumba Dance Party at Callington Town Hall, with every penny going to the Cornwall Air Ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance.

Liz, 51, explained: ‘We met through Zumba. I have been qualified as a Zumba teacher for 11 years and Gwennie started coming along to my classes.

‘Gwennie is 70 and she is quite amazing. She has a form of leukaemia so it is quite phenomenal that she is doing what she is doing, teaching Zumba Gold.’

Zumba Gold is a more gentle form of the dance craze and both Gwennie and Liz teach both at venues around the Tavistock area and over the border in east Cornwall.

They have decided to share their love of the dance at Callington Town Hall on Saturday, June 24 between 10am and 12pm.

Liz said: ‘We have people from early 30s to 70s in our classes, it really is suitable for any age, shape or size — people dance at their own level.

We’d love people to come along to our two-hour Zumba Party. Basically Gwennie and I totally love what we do and if we can raise some money and have a fab time then we’re happy!

‘I went to a free CPR and defib training course run by the Devon Air Ambulance Trust in Tavistock Town Hall recently which was so thorough and has given me the confidence to be able to act now, should I need to in a life-threatening situation.

‘I was very impressed with the training. We wanted to raise money for local charities and our classes are held in both Devon and Cornwall so this made sense.’

Gwennie teaches Zumba and Zumba Gold classes in Lawhitton near Launceston on Monday nights, in Milton Abbot on Wednesdays and Milton Abbot on Friday mornings.

Liz teaches in Mary Tavy, in Golberdon on the Cornwall side of the Tamar Valley on Wednesday mornings, at Tavistock Town Hall on Thursday mornings and Gulworthy on Friday mornings.

She also teaches Zumba Kids in primary schools and adds ‘I have just started doing Chair Zumba in a home in Mary Tavy which is just fabulous. I love all the differences!’

She said that supporting the air ambulance was important to them both, although she had never had to call on it herself.

She said that the training offered by the air ambulance at Tavistock Town Hall was ‘totally brilliant’

We do classes in Devon and Cornwall and we wanted to do something to support a charity where we live and work. We thought this would be a really good one because it is essential. You never know when you might need to call on it. And they do the training as well.

‘We are doing our event as a two-hour Zumba party also to give people the chance to just drop in for a bit. People can just turn up and give it a try. It is not like you will make you dance for the whole two hours. It is not like that at all!

‘The party will be a mixture of Zumba and Zumba Gold.

‘We really wanted to show people what we do and we both love it. It is the best feeling in the world to meet people who maybe aren’t having the best day and they dance and then they feel so much better and it is a joy to see.’

For more information about the Zumba Dance Party, call 07484 157706.