The Sentinel was excellent at highlighting local achievements and achievers who would otherwise not have got the recognition they deserved. As well as looking at issues of national importance, it was able to give time and space to the people who made up the community of Wester Hailes. A few weeks ago we featured Ernie Plimmer, the veteran runner who appeared regularly on its pages. Another name that cropped up across the years was Disco Lil.
Disco Lil was the stage name for Mrs Lilian Ware who moved to Wester Hailes in 1981. Four years previously, she had injured her back and had been forced to give up work. Bored of sitting at home she decided to take up disco dancing, despite her painful arthritis. She quickly progressed, winning medals and awards for her achievements. The Sentinel first featured her in December 1981 and you can read the report by clicking here on Disco Lil 1981.
As well as winning prizes and making appearances at places such as the Lyceum Theatre, Lil was keen to pass on her knowledge and love of dancing to the next generation. She started disco dancing classes for local children, and keep fit classes for mums at Murrayburn and Westburn. Her disco dance troupe was very popular, taking part in local competitions.
In 1982 Legal and General held their Golden Awards competition to look for the top pensioner in Britain. The Sentinel nominated Lil, printing their nomination in the July 1982 edition. Lil won through to the regional final, one of only six to be picked out of the thousands that had entered and the only woman to be in the final. Although she didn’t make it to first place, she was pleased to have got as far as she did. You can read more about her day at the Awards by clicking here.
In 1984, the Sentinel interviewed Lil on her 70th birthday. She talked about her love of dance and how she always wanted to be a dancer. She also discussed what it was like to be a pensioner in Wester Hailes and talked about how important pensioners’ rights were to her. You can read the full interview by clicking here on Disco Lil 1984.