Dance class tapping away for India trip

rip  Upstage Academy members before their 90 minute charity dance for Kidney Research UK.  (121119M4)
rip Upstage Academy members before their 90 minute charity dance for Kidney Research UK. (121119M4)

A Ripon performing arts school completed a dance fit class to raise funds for Kidney Research, after the school’s owner saw her father offer his kidney to her sister for a life-changing operation.

Upstage Academy raised over £300 at a special 90 minute dance fit class for adults and children on Monday November 19, after four local pals pledged to travel across India over the Christmas season.

Alistair Stickland – who works as an acting teacher at Upstage – Matthew Robinson, Andrew Pease and Basil Taylor-Scorpe will set out for India on Boxing Day, where they plan to drive in a tuc tuc with no accommodation, very little luggage and no road markings or signs.

They will donate half their funds to Kidney Research after their friend Amelia Urukalo – owner of Upstage – saw her dad offer to donate his kidney to her sister two years ago.

Matthew Robinson, 24, Miss Urukalo’s housemate, said he has never taken on a challenge like this before.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we had an instinctive feeling that told us just to go for it,” he said.

“Because the Kidney Research issue is so close to home, we felt quite strongly about the cause and it came naturally to us.

“We are all ready for the trip and really excited for it.”

Miss Urukalo, 25, said it was an emotional process seeing her sister, Leona Whitfield, 29, and dad Denis Urukalo, 55, go through the medical process together.

“It was quite nice for my sister to go through all the research and training together to go through such a life-changing operation,” said Miss Urukalo, who has owned Upstage for three years.

“My dad and sister came along to the class on Monday. It was a big change for us because she had so much energy this year,” she said.

The other half of the fundraising money for the trip will go towards a water project in India.

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