A HELENSBURGH dance teacher who was made a British Empire Medal recipient in the New Year honours list says her award is for her school and pupils as much as it's for her.

Margaret MacInnes, who has run the Margaret Rose School of Dance for more than 40 years, will be presented with her honour, for services to Highland dancing and the community in Helensburgh, later this year after being put forward for the award by friends and family.

The 65-year-old started up the popular dance school in 1972, at the age of just 19, and it has grown into one of the leading Highland dance groups in the country, with pupils achieving success at local, national and international level.

An accomplished teacher of ballet, tap and jazz, as well as Highland dancing, Margaret first found out about her nomination in the middle of November but has had to remain tight-lipped until now.

READ MORE: BEM honour for Helensburgh dance teacher Margaret

She told the Advertiser: "I’m very proud of the fact that it was friends and parents of children at the dance school who nominated me.

"It’s for myself and for the school, because it was through the school that most things happened which enabled me to get this award."

After devoting a lifetime to the progression of Highland dance, and teaching thousands of youngsters, Margaret paid special tribute to the woman who got her into the profession in the first place, and said she has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

"I’m sad that my mum isn’t here to see it," Margaret said.

"She died three years ago, but I know she would be proud.

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"There was nobody else in my family who danced. My mum sent me to dance school because I was quiet and shy, and even though it was difficult for her she always found the money for me to go.

"I’ve been very lucky to have done something all my life that I have loved, and I still love it, I can’t see me ever giving it up.

"It’s nice to be recognised for something I love doing."

Among the many trophies, medals and prizes won by her pupils - including more than 100 for star student Eilidh Gammons - Margaret is perhaps most proud of the school's contribution to the local community.

She added: "We put on dance events for senior citizens and regularly go and visit people in nursing homes.

"They can’t get out and that is what I stress to the children. Out of 20 people in the home, maybe five of them will really enjoy it, and the rest will say ‘when are you going to finish?’

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"But for those who do enjoy it, just to see their faces makes it worthwhile. The children talk to them at the end and it’s great to be giving something back to the community.

"The school is very successful now with champions, but a lot of the children don’t compete, they come along every week just to enjoy their dancing. There is a place for everybody.

"Children come once a week because they love dancing and they come skipping in that door.

"Each and every child is important to me and I still love teaching and what the children give back to me, it’s a two-way thing."

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