The memories came flooding back for an Irish dancing coach when her prize pupil was crowned the best in the country, 15 years after she took home the same trophy.
Mhairi Gillespie, who teaches at the Launch Pad Studio on Butters Loan, coached Niamh Leighton to the All Scotland championship title in the senior category at the competition held in Larbert during the first weekend in February.
The victory comes 15 years after Mhairi herself was crowned the winner in the same category in the same contest, which pits dancers from all across Scotland against each other.
Mhairi, 36, said: “It was an emotional day. There were five judges which is more than usual and it went down to the wire. We did not know if she had won until points were tallied up.
“This was something that she had really wanted to win.”
The dancing coach said it took a while for her to realise Niamh’s success was something that she herself had achieved when she was still competing in Irish dancing competitions.
“I actually won the Senior All Scotland championship in 2005 and I was the same age as Niamh, who is 21,” Mhairi said.
“I didn’t actually realise it was the same trophy I won until a few days later when Niamh called me up and told me.
“It’s honestly so special for me as a teacher to have this memory given to me from my very own dancer.”
Mhairi, who first took up Irish dancing aged seven, also spoke of her pride in being able to teach a new generation of dancers to success.
“I have been teaching for 11 years, she added.
“I work during the day but a lot of my spare time is spent working on the dancing and for Niamh to win is the icing on top of the cake.”
Mhairi and Niamh’s focus is now turned to the Irish Dancing world championships, which is being held in the Irish town of Killarney in April.
“Last year was one of our most successful times at the world championships and we won four medals. It would be great to have that again but it’s down to them to out the work in,” Mhairi said.
“The world championships is a lot bigger of a competition than we are used to but all I want is to see them do their best.”