A LIFELONG passion for dancing has propelled a real life Billy Elliot to the top of his trade.

Phil Hurst started dance lessons at the age of eight and thanks to a supportive father he is teaching the next generation of ballroom dancers.

Now he is set to become the first official dance teacher at the world famous Blackpool Tower ballroom from April.

“My dad told me that apparently I just came home from school one day and said I want to learn to dance,” he said.

“It came as a bit of a surprise as no-one in my family danced and both my father and both brothers are rugby players.

“But I have a great dad who instantly took me to a little old lady called Margaret Blackburn, who took me under her wing.”

After competing around the world Phil became a full-time dance teacher 10 years ago and runs P&K Hurst Dance Studios at several halls, including Hindley, with his wife Kathryn.

The 33-year-old, of Liscard Street, Atherton, dad to Ysobella, aged four, and two-year-old Matylda, said: “I started running social dances at the tower in 2012 and have gone from strength to strength and we have become so renowned that Merlin (the current operator of the tower complex) has asked us to run dance classes at the world famous ballroom.

“I love teaching. There is no other job like it and it is very fulfilling to do what I love as a job and see the joy people get when they master the steps.

“Teaching in the ballroom is possibly the biggest opportunity anyone in dancing could have and we hope to inspire more children and adults from the area to put on their shoes and have a go.”

For more details visit www.hurstdance.co.uk.