Sling Swing mums mark milestone with Bantock bop

A dance group for mothers and babies that started in Wolverhampton and now has branches all over the UK has celebrated its first anniversary - with a bop around the city's Bantock Park.

Organiser Carly Birchell with her son Noah enjoy the dance
Organiser Carly Birchell with her son Noah enjoy the dance

The Sling Swing group was founded in July 2013 by music teacher Carly Birchell while she was on maternity leave with her then six-month-old son Noah.

The brainchild of her husband Chris, the group features mothers performing a variety of dances with their babies strapped to them in slings.

The group celebrates their milestone in Bantock Park
The group celebrates their milestone in Bantock Park

In a whirlwind first year the troupe have appeared on Britain's Got Talent and performed an impromptu flash mob dance in Queen Square. A similar stunt in London's Trafalgar Square saw the boogieing babies and their mothers ushered away by a mean-spirited security guard, to the disappointment of scores of onlookers.

Having started out at St Bartholomew's Church in Penn, Mrs Birchell now has 15 groups running across the country including branches in London and Devon.

The 34-year-old mother-of-one, from Finchfield, said: "It has proved really popular and I'm shocked to see how quickly it has grown.

Nicola Mackenzie (L) with her son Elijah and dance swing mums and babies, left to right, Amy Bellamy with Quinn, Fleur Sifford with Bayley, Carly Birchell with Noah,Lyndsey Harris with Frederick,Liz Riley with Arwen, Anastasia with Amelia,Nicki Rayner with Ruby and Michelle Webb with Toby
Nicola Mackenzie (L) with her son Elijah and dance swing mums and babies, left to right, Amy Bellamy with Quinn, Fleur Sifford with Bayley, Carly Birchell with Noah,Lyndsey Harris with Frederick,Liz Riley with Arwen, Anastasia with Amelia,Nicki Rayner with Ruby and Michelle Webb with Toby

"It is an unusual activity because it allows mums to be active with their babies, rather than sit and watch them play.

"Most of the babies are asleep by the end of the session which is an added bonus!"

Mrs Birchell said she is now in talks with the NHS with a view to running classes as part of a strategy to combat obesity in the Black Country.

The Wolverhampton group now features almost 40 members with classes running at St Bartholomew's Church and Bingley Centre Children's Centre in Penn Fields.

Nicola Mackenzie with her son Elijah
Nicola Mackenzie with her son Elijah
Fleur Sifford with son Bayley
Fleur Sifford with son Bayley

Mrs Birchell added: "There have been so many highlights it is hard to pick just one, but Britain's Got Talent was fantastic fun."

The 15-strong troupe narrowly missed out on making it through to the live shows despite judge Simon Cowell describing their dance to Ant and Dec's hit Let's Get Ready To Rhumble as 'incredible'.

For more information on joining a Sling Swing class call 07977 450513 or visit their website.