In memory of Frans Ligtmans  (3 April 1932-16 January 2018):

 

Our founder member of The Thistle Club, Frans Ligtmans, was born & bred in Zierikzee, province of Zeeland, NL.
Folk-dancing (mainly Dutch & English) became  her hobby and she first experienced Scottish Dancing during a course in Vlissingen (Flushing) when a dance teacher came from Scotland to lead the course. She immediately  went to St. Andrews Summer School and later gained her Teacher’s Certificate there.

After a career change, from quality control at the Hero conserved foodstuffs factory in Breda to becoming a schoolteacher, Frans came to Eindhoven to support the  mathematics/IT department at the Technical College. Here she met and married her lecturer: Cor and their children Roelof and Renske were born.


Thistle Club beginnings....

With some Scottish dancers and the support of her family, Frans started a new  SCD-club in Eindhoven: The Thistle Club.
That was forty years ago, in 1977. With a couple of new members we had just one set of 8!
For many years Frans was the life and soul of the Thistle Club. She had a strong personality and was not always easy to deal with, but she was an exceptionally good teacher. She did a lot to promote SCD in Eindhoven and elsewhere in the Netherlands and even abroad. This was also recognized by the RSCDS who awarded her a scroll, a great honour! 
Her family supported Frans throughout and they each became good dancers – her children gained their teaching certificates – and Renske also taught Highland dancing and learned the Scottish bagpipes!
At its peak The Thistle Club had some 50 members; Frans gave lessons to beginners, advanced and children; led Preliminary Teachers Courses on the continent, wrote dances, made costumes, did the choreography and rehearsals for demonstrations – on the street and in the theatre – and held large festive events with British bands and teachers.

 


 Photo: Frans at the local Chinese restaurant: 

Frans loved Scottish music and dancing and was very good at needlework (quilting was another hobby). She enjoyed cooking for our guests at the annual Dayschool & Ball and she often invited people out to eat at her local Chinese restaurant; on this occasion the Thistle Club was invited to her 60th birthday celebration.

 

Sadly, Frans' health kept her from dancing in later life. She had already undergone heart surgery and made a good recovery but her heart remained a weak point, the poor circulation affecting her legs, and after a nasty fall and hip fracture she was confined to a wheelchair for the last years of her life. She kept busy at her quilting and many of  her friends still enjoy the results! In the end she was being treated in hospital for a painful bacterial infection of the legs, when an internal bleeding proved fatal.

 

It is the end of an era, but she left us dancers many things to remember and enjoy: the dances she composed as well as the inspiration to go on and dance with joy and to the best of our ability, whilst sharing with others the fun involved. We won’t forget her!

 

The Thistle Club, Eindhoven