Tribute for world renowned dancer Walter McBride who died in house fire in Norbury

Croydon Guardian: Tribute for world renowned dancer who died in house fire in Norbury Tribute for world renowned dancer who died in house fire in Norbury

A world-renowned dancer who died in a fire last week has been called a true gentleman by his daughter.

Walter Ernest Reid McBride, who had recently turned 80, died after a fire caused by a smouldering cigarette engulfed his home in Norbury in the early hours of April 19.

A small crack in the ceiling meant smoke from the living room entered his bedroom on the first floor.

Mr McBride, a Glaswegian who lived in Norbury for 40 years, was rescued by firefighters but later died in hospital.

His daughter Jaklin Eliott and his son Derek both flew over from Australia after they heard the news of his death.

Mrs Eliott said her father, an ex-serviceman who served in the Royal Marines Commandos for six years, was always looking to help others.

Mr McBride left the marines in 1963 after breaking his leg and then turned to the world of dancing where he represented Scotland in the World Dance Championships.

Mrs Eliott, who lives in Adelaide, has seen letters from professionals in the dancing industry who said her dad was an excellent coach and had undoubted expertise in teaching dance.

Known as Danny McBride within the dance industry, he travelled to a number of different countries from Japan to Poland to teach dance as well as running a studio in Balham.

He was also a top level examiner, meaning he judged dancers at the top of the business.

Mr McBride was also a keen gardener and despite having fractured vertebrae still made sure his garden was in a top condition.

Mrs Eliott, 53, said he she was about to send her dad a laminated picture of him in the garden before she was told about the fire.

She said: “He was so proud of his garden. I saw him in June last year and we took a lovely photo of the garden and I eventually got round to printing it off and ready to send but then I got the call.

“I am so sorry he didn’t get that as he would have loved it. When he could he would lie on his stomach and plant lots of flowers.

“He was a smoker and I always used to say to him Dad these cigarettes are going to kill you, and in the end they did, just not the way we expected.”

She added: “He was the sort of person who if you asked him for help he would always do it. He thought the best of people and looked on the positive side.

“He was an old fashioned gentleman and he was well thought of.”


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