Project information

Will Gaines' Funeral and Wake

After a 70-year career as a hoofer (tap dancer) Will Gaines passed away aged 86 at his UK home in Leigh-On-Sea on Wednesday 7 May 2014. Will leaves no direct relatives in the UK so close friends and supporters are raising funds towards his funeral arrangements.

One Month

Charity information: Dance UK

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  • Need


    Master bebop hoofer Will Gaines was a larger-than-life character whose intricate, improvised rhythms of the feet, captivated and entertained many audiences. As a hoofer, Will was a musician as well as a dancer. Born Royce Edward Gaines on 6th April 1928, Will's jazz tap career began in Detroit where he grew up. He's tap skills opened up opportunities so that he worked in the US through the 1940s and 50s. A booking in the 1960s brought him to the UK where he decided to make his home.


    In the absence of family in the UK, Dance UK is helping to raise awareness of the need to raise funds for Will Gaines' funeral arrangements and give friends and fans of Will, and the art form he represented, the opportunity to contribute towards ensuring he has a fitting send off.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Raise enough funds to give Will Gaines the funeral he deserves.


    » Several fundraising activities are taking place for which people can donate via this page.

    By putting on a funeral fitting of the regard in which Will is held in the dance community.

  • Impact


    Enable Will's family, friends and fans to remember him and celebrate his life in a positive manner.


    Not raising enough funds - Dance UK has a wide network of dance professionals and dance fans to whom we will publicise this campaign.


    Via social media and website news pages and e-newsletter.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £2,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Funeral Costs Cars, service etc.
      £1,000 Wake costs Catering and venue

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Southend Council £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background




    Will Gaines' family and friends and the dance community at large who have enjoyed his performances and appreciate the place he holds in dance history.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Because we can reach the wider dance community in the UK who may want to contribute to celebrating Will's life.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Annette Walker

    Dance UK member, tap dancer, friend and tap dance advocate.

Will Gaines at 80, photo Richard Kaby

Will Gaines at 80, photo Richard Kaby