Dumfries House Christmas tea dance

The Duke of Rothesay (as The Prince of Wales is known when in Scotland) surprised guests today at a special Christmas tea dance held at Dumfries House.

Two hundred guests were attending a festive instalment of a tea dance held regularly to counter loneliness and social isolation within Ayrshire.

The event is held every three weeks at Dumfries House near Cumnock and yesterday welcomed older members of the local community, adults with additional support needs and special guest The Duke of Rothesay.

A tea dance is held as part of The Prince’s Foundation’s Integrated Health and Wellbeing programme at Dumfries House and is run in conjunction with East Ayrshire Council's Vibrant Communities service. Yesterday’s gathering featured entertainment by students of The MGA Academy of Performing Arts and pupils of Greenmill Primary School, with guests enjoying festive food and drink while taking the opportunity to dance and socialise with one another.

Shiona Johnston, Integrated Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, said: "Our tea dances take place every three weeks and are always very successful. Usually, we welcome around 120 people to each tea dance but we wanted as many people as possible to be able to enjoy our Christmas lunch.

“Through the tea dances, we aim to help tackle social isolation in Ayrshire. The guests look forward to coming along to Dumfries House and socialising with our butlers and events staff. Many have also made friends at this event and now arrange to meet them regularly. None of them knew that His Royal Highness was due to attend so it was a lovely surprise for them just before Christmas.”

Established health initiatives at Dumfries House tackle issues including isolation of older members of the community, the management of cancer, mental health, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and women’s health.