Scottish 99-year-old tango dancer wows crowds at World Championships in Argentina
A 99-year-old Paisley-born tango dancer is set to enter the Guinness Book of World Records after becoming the oldest-ever competitor at an international dance festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jim McManus, who has lived in Ireland for more than 20 years, planned to visit the Argentine capital - the home of Tango - to celebrate his 100th birthday, which he is set to celebrate in January.
After friends and fellow Tango dancers in Waterford, Ireland, raised money through a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the trip, Mr McManus made the journey and has taken part in the Festival Mundial de Tango (World Tango Championships), paired with Argentine dancer Lucia Seva. He said that he had not been on an aeroplane since 1981.
Now organisers hope to register his participation with the Guinness Book of World Records after his performance at the Argentine capital’s Usina del Arte venue in the well-known La Boca area of the city.
World War Two veteran Mr McManus was born in Scotland and worked as a telegrapher and radio operator in the Royal Navy. He moved to Ireland in 1994.
He took up Tango aged 80 in 2002 and now takes weekly classes - as well as classes in other types of dance.
He told Argentinian media: "Tango generates a lot of happiness for me. And dancing is also very important socially, you interact with people other than you and make new friends," he said.
The GoFundMe page set up by the Waterford Tango community to finance Jim's trip, described him as an "incredible man".
It said: "This gentleman is an inspiration to our community and others around the country. He is the kind of gentleman who is unrepeatable. We would love to send Jim to Buenos Aires to celebrate his 100th birthday dancing his beloved Tango!!!! This would be a little dream come true for this great man."
The 2019 edition of the world championships features 744 couples from 36 countries.