A 99-year-old former professional dancer has embarked on an intense exercise challenge to raise money for the NHS ahead of her 100th birthday.
Grandmother-of-four, Dinkie Flowers, turns 100 in May, and has been dancing since the age of three, but she doesn’t plan on hanging up her dancing shoes any time soon.
The mum-of-one has travelled the world to showcase her skills and has even performed in front of the Iraqi Royal Family in Baghdad.
Until recently she ran dancing classes from her garage three times a week – but has been forced to wind down due to the pandemic.
From now until her 100th birthday, on 7 May, Flowers plans to work out six days a week, with a 45-minute keep fit class on three days and a 20-minute walk on the other three days to raise money for the NHS Charities Together.
“Everybody says to me – what would you like to do if you could start all over again?” Flowers says.
“I’ve always said this is what I’d do, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Flowers was teaching dance and keep fit classes right up until the first lockdown and now plans on utilising her skills for a good cause.
The widow, from Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, has an NHS fundraiser set up by her friend Lesley Tomlinson.
Commenting on Flowers’ achievements, Tomlinson said: “She’s so amazing – there can’t be many people who are 100 and can do what she does.
“She’s on the floor running on the spot it’s incredible. Her posture is amazing – she can do anything I can do.
“She’s also had an amazing life.”
Flowers learnt her skills at London’s Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.
After falling in love with ice skating, she also went on to skate and dance all over the world.
She even performed for Prince Philip at an Ice Gala in 1952 for which she received a royal letter of thanks.
Watch: Elderly fitness master shows off skills on public fitness equipment.
Through the British embassy, Flowers also travelled to Iraq to teach the royal family ice skating, but miscommunication nearly resulted in the dancer being forced to stay.
Tomlinson explains: “They built an ice rink for the royal family In Iraq. Dinkie taught the prince and was there for a few months.
“When it was time to go – the Sheikh who bought the rink thought she came with it!
“He thought he’d bought the rink and that he’d also have her.”
Flowers went on to marry husband George, who managed the famous Raymond Revuebar in London.
He died in 2005. The couple had a daughter, Sarah, and four grandchildren.
At just 98 years young Flowers made her TV debut, tap dancing her way through the auditions to appear on The Greatest Dancer.
Commenting on her love of dancing, Flowers said: “I love it. I love dancing. I hate telling people [when they ask] ‘how old are you Dinkie’? What the hell does it matter how old I am? I’m still living and I’m still going strong. It doesn’t matter whether I’m 30 or 100!
“I’m a terror for work. I don’t work because I like it. I work because I love it. I think the thing is, not to sit on your bum all day. Do things. I have never stopped.
“Ballet, tap, modern, all of it. I’ve been all over the world dancing. I think anyone can dance, even if it’s only a little. It does you the world of good for one thing. You’re using your body.
“I mean, how does anybody expect to have a good body, walk well, feel well, if they’re not doing anything? It’s impossible.”
Additional reporting SWNS.