SEVENTY years after its inception, Tanwood School proved once again its dedication to the Swindon community by raising £1,000 for thousands of patients with life-limiting illness in the town.

The dance studio rallied behind the 160 Appeal in aid of Prospect Hospice and succeeded in collecting the funds at a raffle and auction at its 70th anniversary ball on Saturday at the Marriott.

Celebrating a milestone in the history of the institution without lending support to the charity it has had close links with ever since its inauguration in the 1980s was out of the question for director Pollyann Tanner.

Ten years ago, the hospice’s crucial place in the community was brought even closer to home for the family when Pollyann’s aunt Pat was taken into its care after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We have raised money for Prospect right from the beginning,” said the 51-year-old, of Grange Park, who took over the running of the school from her mother Mollie ten years ago.

“My mother’s sister Pat died of breast cancer 10 years ago and she had relied quite heavily on Prospect. A lot of Prospect doctors and nurses’ children also came to my mother’s kindergarten school so we’ve always had links with the hospice from an early stage and that relationship grew. It is important for us to help Prospect.

“We had good raffle and auction prizes and we raised £1,000. And we intend to continue to support the 160 Appeal this year. It’s a great cause.”

Tanwood School, based at the Isis Trading Estate in Stratton Road, was originally set up in a garage in 1944 by Mollie Tanner.

Around 85 current and former students – some among the very first to join the fledgling school in 1940s – and teachers came together to pay homage to founders Mollie, 86, and John, 92, for a cabaret style show.

“It was a big production,” Pollyann added.

“Former students came back and we all had a good dance together.

“My mother and father were guests of honour. It was an opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary and get students from near and far that had been at the school.

“My mother’s first pupils were there. It spanned the whole 70 years of Tanwood.”

  • The Adver’s 160 Appeal launched in February in a bid to raise £160,000 for Prospect Hospice. To donate to Prospect visit