All of us at Giant Steps were greatly saddened to hear about the death of legendary jazz great Sir John Dankworth at 82.
John and his wife, the legendary singer and multiple grammy winner, Dame Cleo Laine are dear friends of our program having served on the Giant Steps Advisory Board and performed no less than three benefit concerts on Giant Step’s behalf, donating their extraordinary talents and time.
Sir John’s resume and list of collaborators reads like a who’s who of great Jazz including the great Duke Elllington, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman.
Next to music, John and Cleo’s second love was a non-profit they formed at their home in Wavendon, England, used to showcase and promote emerging young musical talent.
John passed away on the afternoon of Saturday, February 9, 2010 just a few hours before a scheduled concert to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their founding the Wavendon non-profit. Ever the consummate entertainer, Cleo went on to perform at the concert without a word to anyone except her fellow performers to whom she told that John would want the evening to be, not a wake, but a celebration. At the end of the concert she informed a shocked audience of Sir John’s death. She went on to inform a shocked audience at the end of the concert.
The world has lost not only a great musician but a kind and generous gentleman and my wife Lee and I have lost a very dear friend.” Our hearts go out to Cleo and their children Alec, Jacqui, Stuart and daughter in law Sharon.
Robert J. Pope
Sandy Webster, our Program Director, has over 30 years of leadership experience with horses and therapeutic services and is one of only two dual-certified Master Instructors (Canada and the U.S.). She served for 19 years as the Executive Director of the Community Association for Riding for the Disabled in Toronto, Canada. She is helping us achieve our vision for increasing our service levels, broadening our volunteer programs, and expanding our services to help more people with disabilities and special needs.
All of our instructors have been trained and certified through the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), which has also accredited Giant Steps with their highest designation of a “Premier Accredited Center”. Our instructors and volunteers facilitate physical and emotional wellness in a safe, structured, but fun-filled environment.
Giant Steps is a Premier Accredited Center of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). NARHA provides safety standards and guidelines to its members. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.narha.org