Ascott (13) dances and makes Grandad proud

Ascott pictured with proud grandad Robert
Ascott pictured with proud grandad Robert

He travelled a distance of more than 4,000 miles and was forced to renew his antique passport.

But it was all worth it for Derry man Robert Reid who was there in Nashville to see his grand daughter Ascott Long lift the world champion line dancing title in the new year.

13 years-old Ascott, a pupil at Foyle and Londonderry College danced her way into the record books when she flew to Nashville with her father Mervyn and grandfather Robert.

“We were delighted,” said her father Mervyn. “And it was made all the more special because Robert was there.”

76 years-old Robert had made a pact with his grand daughter Ascott that he would travel all the way to Nashville with her but only if she qualified and won at the Shamrocks competition.

Robert had never been to the US before but had always wanted to see the Grand Ole Opry.

But his family admit that Robert did have cold feet just before the trip coming up with a litany of excuses to get out of it.

Some of the excuses were: “The long distance without sleep (you can sleep on the plane), toilet facilities (they are on the plane), can’t walk too far (you are in a hired car), can’t drive on the other side (your son-in-law will do all the driving), too cold (don’t worry you’re getting thermal undies for Xmas presents) and the latest is no-one to walk his dog (he has five children all willing to walk the dog).

Robert even questioned whether he could be able to get a passport at his age, and said he was having trouble remembering the date of his parents’ marriage when filling out his application form.

However in true grandad style, he came through for Ascott and was her loudest supporter at the competition in Nashville when Ascott picked up first prize in her category.

Ascott Long first began line dancing in November 2008 and has entered a variety of competitions including the Ulsters in Lisnaskea and the 2010 All Irelands.

She is taught at the Y dance club coach by Sandra Long (no relation to Ascott) who also teaches at the YMCA.

The family say they’d like to thank Sandra for making the dresses for Ascott.

“Sandra gives up her spare time to teach Ascott and three other kids the routines for all competitions,” said Mervyn.

“I love line dancing,” said Ascott who dyed her hair red for the world championships.

“We wear lovely dresses and line dancing boots or shoes. It’s really good fun.”