Delight after Seacroft ballerina secures place at prestigious dance school following crowdfunding campaign

A young ballerina from Seacroft has secured her place at a prestigious dance school after crowdfunding more than £100,000.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 4:45 am
Constance Bailey, 13, from Seacroft, has secured her place at a prestigious ballet school after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Photo: James Hardisty

Talented Constance Bailey, aged 13, was offered a place to study ballet at The Hammond School in Chester from September.

However, her mum Laura Bailey, 45, is a single parent and PA in the NHS and was unable to pay the £30,000 a year school fees.

Determined to ensure Constance could take up the opportunity to train at specialist school, she launched a crowdfunding campaign on Go Fund Me.

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Constance Bailey, 13, and her mum Laura Bailey, 45. Photo: James Hardisty.

After coverage in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the story was picked up by The Guardian, and more than 3,500 people donated, raising a total of £105,169.

Constance will now say goodbye to her friends at Abbey Grange C of E School, as she takes up her well-deserved spot in at her new school.

"I'm overwhelmed but excited," Laura said.

"The article went out this morning and within 30 minutes we'd raised £8,000. Then we just sat there watching it go up and up and up.

"It's such a shock that the funding happened within hours.

"We've turned the funding off now as there are other people who need support

"It's a little bit more than we'd asked for but then it includes all the other fees that she's got to pay, equipment and trains over the next three years.

"it's been absolutely overwhelming but the most amazing thing was that there was all these messages that people put on there, over 3,500 people donated but they were also sending message after message of such love and such encouragement."

Constance started dancing aged two at the Janina School in Cross Gates.

When she was seven, Constance moved to the Yorkshire Ballet Academy in Whinmoor and still trains there three nights a week.

She is also part of the Cecchetti associates scheme where the best young dancers in the country are taught by professionals one Sunday a month in Warrington.

Laura said that Constance, who has autism, is excited to start at her new school.

She said: "Constance is a mixture of disbelief and excitement and happiness.

"She's laughing and saying 'oh mum's already got my bus pass' to go back to Abbey Grange but of course, she isn't going back now.

"She's better at expressing herself through dancing than she is with words really.

"Once she got her pointe shoes, she said that she felt like she could fly."