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It’s official - conga dancers have smashed world record in memory of Toni, 44

PUBLISHED: 12:23 25 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:34 26 January 2020

The Ipswich Outdoor Group getting ready for their world record attempt   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Ipswich Outdoor Group getting ready for their world record attempt Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Suffolk fundraisers have succeeded in smashing the world record for the longest distance danced in a conga line, in memory of a much-loved nurse.

The Ipswich Outdoor Group getting ready for their world record attempt   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Ipswich Outdoor Group getting ready for their world record attempt Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The amazing conga along Felixstowe seafront in April, by members of the Ipswich Outdoor Group, has now set a Guinness World Record - after they danced 11.32 miles. The previous record was 7.84 miles, set in Brighton three years earlier.

Group member John Wright, who took part in the conga dance himself, said: "We are delighted to be able to say that Guinness have now ratified it as an official world record.

"The effort also raised over £3,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich in memory of my wife, Toni Wright who was lovingly cared for at the hospice in 2017."

The official Guinness World Record website now carries a photo of their feat, and describes how the group "dressed up in colourful costumes and performed the conga to the sounds of Black Lace's Do The Conga."

The conga raised money for St Elizabeth Hospice in memory of Toni Wright, who died in 2017.  Picture: ALWYN NASHThe conga raised money for St Elizabeth Hospice in memory of Toni Wright, who died in 2017. Picture: ALWYN NASH

During the epic conga dance on April 28, the group members had to brave the weather to raise cash for the hospice.

Starting from the promenade, towards the town's pier, they headed south towards Mannings before turning back - repeating the route as many times as they could. Their target was eight miles, but they actually went way beyond that despite battling the elements,

READ MORE - Charity ride in memory of Toni

This quirky challenge was part of the Ride for Toni campaign, raising cash for St Elizabeth Hospice in memory of Toni, from Ipswich, who was 44 when she died. So far, the campaign has raised more than £80,000.

John said: "I am forever grateful to Ipswich Outdoor Group for setting this record and helping to raise funds for the hospice in memory of dear Toni."

The event was the raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice, who cared for John Wright's late wife Toni  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe event was the raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice, who cared for John Wright's late wife Toni Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He added: "Not long after our effort, our hearts sank when we learnt that a Dutch team did a conga of 11.15 miles about a month before us. However a check of the gps and surveyors reports showed ours to actually be over 11.25 and we had squeaked over the line!"

At the time, organiser Simon Fevyer thanked all their supporters, saying: "We battled the elements - I think we had all four seasons in the five and a half or so hours we were out there.

"I'd also like to say thank you very much to the people of Felixstowe for supporting us and cheering us on."

This is the second world record for Rachael Norris, who also holds a record for Morris dancing. Rachael was responsible for the colourful costumes worn by the conga team as well as lots of the organising and planning of the event, and led the line on the day.

The Ipswich Outdoor Group brightened up Felixstowe prom as they did an eight mile conga to try and smash the world record  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Ipswich Outdoor Group brightened up Felixstowe prom as they did an eight mile conga to try and smash the world record Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ian Lightfoot of the Suffolk Rickshaw Company helped with the record bid, pedalling in front so they could film from the back of the rickshaw and submit the film to Guinness as part of the proof.

John said: "Amazingly we have since learnt that another team has now completed a 15 mile conga and sent theirs off to Guinness, but even if theirs is confirmed, nobody can take away from us holding a World Record for six months!"

For more details of Ride for Toni, visit the website.


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