Derry - now no stranger to record-breaking accolades - can boast another thanks to the thousands who braved torrential rain on Sunday past to set a new world record for Riverdancing.
Children in Crossfire had called for dancers to help them smash the current record set by Dublin earlier this year. In true Derry style, the event attracted a staggering 2,548 participants for its six-minute jig in Ebrington Square - creating yet another world record for the city.
JR McLaughlin, Head of Fundraising at Children in Crossfire, described the event on Sunday past as “amazing!”
“We had such overwhelming support from the community for this, and we are really grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm of all the dance schools who worked for the past nine months to make this happen,” JR told the ‘Journal’ yesterday.
“We’re particularly grateful to the dance teachers who have worked so hard, as they had been doing lessons at night-time for parents too, not just here in Derry, but in neighbouring counties like Tyrone and Donegal too.”
Heavy flash showers did little to deter dancers from their ultimate goal.
“If there was a line that stood out about Sunday then it would be, “life isn’t just about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain!” That’s honestly how it felt,” JR reflected.
“Just about four minutes before the actual record attempt started, it poured and it was torrential! The screams and delight of the dancers was amazing. The energy in Ebrington was just incredible - the atmosphere was brilliant and everyone was so focused to make sure we did this.
“I’ve had emails today from parents who said they had never seen their children so wet, so mucky and so happy! They were so proud and delighted. We had children from Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United States, England, Wales and Switzerland all taking part too.”
While it will take a few weeks for official confirmation, JR and the team at Children in Crossfire already know the Derry record-breaking attempt was a huge success.
“The record was originally broke here in Derry back in 2010 with 390 Riverdancing, then, it went to Nashville, Tennessee, where the record reached 690, and just a month ago in Dublin they recorded 1,693 taking part. Now we have had 2,548 in Derry - so it’s safe to say we did it,” he laughed.
“A very big thank you to all involved.”