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Memories of Mile Cross dance star

PUBLISHED: 10:55 13 April 2011

Jean Barker

Jean Barker

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Derek James pays tribute to Norwich dancer Jean Barker.

She was the little girl from Mile Cross who went to the bright lights of London when she was a tot to receive an award for her dancing skills.

Jean Barker was a member of the famous Madame Osina’s dancing troupe, one of the biggest acts on the entertainment scene in Norfolk, and way back in the 1930s she was taken to the bright lights to get a certificate for her acrobatic dancing.

The toffs must have loved her.

Thank you for all your memories and photographs from the golden age of the dancing troupes following stories earlier in the year about the reunion for Vicky’s Juveniles, one of the troupes which followed on from Madame Osina’s.

Among those who got in touch was Gordon Sabberton, who sent me these pictures, left and right, of his talented wife Jean, who sadly died a few weeks ago. He says the one of young Jean was taken when she was just three.

They had been married for more than 60 years.

“She must have been one of the last members of the Madame Osina troupe which gave shows all over Norfolk and were really very good,” said Gordon, of Margaret Paston Avenue, Norwich.

Most of the members were girls but one lad, Sidney Clapham, went on to be Lord Mayor of Norwich in 1964.

Another Mile Cross girl, Girty Bedwell, turned into Jean Peters, resident singer with the Ivy Benson All Girls Band – and they were a class act.

Gordon and Jean had three children, Kevin, Robert and Alison – Jean continued her musical career with the amateur operatic society and took part in popular shows at the Theatre Royal. Away from the stage she worked at Timpsons shoe shop, Start-rite and Clarke’s and Harmers.

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