Line Dance Association
I attended the the memorial ceremony for Lance Pritchard conducted by Joe Mac Manamon and because he's words rang so true, I asked if he could send them to me so that I could share them with all the line dancers that couldn't be with on that day.
LDAA Line Dance Assn.
Sunday 18th November 2001
Memorial Ceremony to Lance Pritchard
Words and thoughts by Joe Mac Manamon
At Studebakers in the company of Gordon and Tina Lance looked at me and said, "I’m Lance Pritchard, who are you?".
That was 10 years ago and in that time we shared many cups of tea, countless hours of discussion, argument, debate and reconciliation.
Lance liked to look you in the eye, I believe he enjoyed literally looking down on me! And others!!
Here was a man who loved to tell you to your face that you did not know what you were talking about and that HE knew best for you and for everyone.
Early on I cast Lance as a typical Irish Parish Priest.
He had the stature, the dominance, the wardrobe, the connections with the Almighty and above all he loved an audience or should I say a congregation.
Kath and I stayed in Lance’s homes.
He was an excellent hospitality champion. His cupboards always had food that could be turned into a meal in a matter of minutes.
He had the fluffiest towels even the Hilton would have been proud of.
Staying at Lance’s place was all about hospitality. He enjoyed sharing his home with you.
When Lance stayed at your place he guaranteed you stayed up late and he could outstay anyone.
Until he said he was retiring for the night you were his audience or should that be "congregation"!
Lance Pritchard excelled at all his chosen professions. The insurance industry made many calls to get him back. He had lost his heart and his will to line dancing.
It was clear he was born to dance ………he rock and rolled his way for years across the continent.
He loved to visit Victoria. He loved to look like the star he was and the star he believed himself to be.
Lance thrived on controversy. He was it. He would be first to speak at a meeting and last to sit down!!
He could be outrageous.
He could be brilliant. At times he was simply sensational.
He would wake you up at any hour to tell you your weaknesses.
Lance was very much a human elephant. He had, when he wanted it to be so, an acute memory.
What you said years ago in some obscure location and some odd time he could replay for you fearlessly!
This intelligent, witty, resourceful, tireless and colourful personality waltzed his way in and out of so many lives.
Lance was remarkable for his stubborn stance with all humanity. Few escaped his points of difference.
You knew where you stood with him. He did not seek a quiet corner in which to speak your name.
Lance was up front and direct.
But for much of his live he walked alone. Over the past 10 years he was at the centre of the dance industry.
He was comfortable there at the heart and the height of the industry that promised him so much.
In January he again claimed Gold at Tamworth it seemed to give him so much strength.
Lance did not know it but he has claimed gold so many times before.
He gave so much gold to others.
The fun times and the good times.
Countless hours on the phone; the dances, the socials, the competitions, the trips away, the shoulder always there for those who felt a little insecure.
Insecure!! Lance cured insecurity.
Everyone in the room heard it loud and clear if you were the slightest degree out of line or late with a turn. Inhibitions also went out the window; Lance was a master of his craft.
You got it right if only to prove him wrong!!
Lance Pritchard……..you may have left us in a physical sense.
You have left behind far too many layers of memories.
Your dances will live on long after others collect dust.
You travelled with me on tour in Queensland. Country Music & Line Dancing together on the road!!
That was not so much an adventure, more an experience.
Towns big and tiny; they still remember you while the stars of the shows have disappeared from the very outback of their mind.
Your exhilarated New Zealand and found a legion of followers in the youth of that country.
Your stance as judge, jury and the Almighty will be recalled as the Mabo Syndrome of Line Dancing.
Your dog and rabbit stories were good enough for the Readers Digest.
You continually ran out of fuel and even on the Freeway you timed it to coincide with a service station.
The dollar in your pocket was also there in case someone else needed it.
For you times were good and very good.
For you rarely hit rock bottom, you somehow went further down.
Choreographer and instructor took you into many peoples lives.
The dance industry that promised much lost its sheen for you.
Then we were told you left us.
Your passing was not just pain for your family.
Pain also for those whose lives you touched.
Those whose lives were touched cannot see you anywhere but here with us now.
We will always hear your laugh………..We will wait for your next surprise………..
It was you who said only the good die young.
You have the advantage now for you will never grow old.
We know you did more good than harm.
We know you needed love.
We pray you have found it now.
You left behind a legend. You said it all in fun. You lived it well….
Thank you Lance for all the things that mattered most to us.
We knew you well.
You see you were true to the one who matters most……yourself.
Thank you Lance for being you.
Not all of us had the courage and the gall to always say it how it was.
Wherever you may be, teach them well.
Play it loud. You set The Opera House on fire…….Tamworth may never be the same………..
Wherever you may be, tell it how it is.
We miss you.
Wherever you may be please look this way. We are late………..
But we are here…………
Love is never too late…………………Lance………..
Lance, love is strong. You gave us all a valuable lesson……….we must be true to ourselves………….
Go on…….play it loud…….
Goodbye for now, Lance.
Joe Mac Manamon 18th November 2001.
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