Stephen Murphy CBE ……..and Jill Varndell our fabulous sponsors from the UK and SA!

Stephen Murphy CBE

When people ask me how I make a living, I usually say “Crime”. I began as a probation officer in 1975 and still make parole decisions on the most serious offenders in the UK. Along the way I became Director General of the Probation Service for England and Wales and was honoured by her HM the Queen in 2004, hence the letters after my name (Commander of the British Empire). I’ve been involved in the UK over the years in many local voluntary organisations and know at first hand how they can bind communities together. They give children and adults alike opportunities to take pride in themselves and their neighbourhoods.

There are a few things in life more rewarding than seeing young people fulfill their abilities and learn to work with others as they develop characters of their own. The discipline and commitment shown by Ms Mary’s protegees will stand them in good stead for life’s challenges. We are proud of her work and what it says about our lovely village. We know that such projects are often on a knife-edge financially so Jill my wife and I do what we can to help.

Jill Varndell

I spent 25 years as a social worker in the UK, mainly working with troubled families. The most rewarding was work we did with disaffected and disengaged children and young people. I found that when they became passionate about something and had positive adult role models who took an interest in them, they were more able to succeed in all their endeavors.

Steve and I came to McGregor twenty one years ago and bought a house after just three days! Back then we spent most of our time in the UK and holidaying in McGregor. Over the years particularly post-retirement I now live mostly in McGregor, while Steve works in the UK most of the time. We met Ms Mary and took an interest in her Ballet project from it’s inception. We were bowled over by her passion and style and wanted to support her work. We run an Airbnb at our home Sizofika. Each booking results in a donation from us to First Step Ballet. We also share information about FSBM with our guests to give them a better understanding of the project. By supporting Mary’s work we feel we are giving back to the village that has given us some much over the years. We have found the Ballet project so rewarding and love to see the little tots who started with little confidence, gain skills, poise and blossom into amazing young people.





Jill has three horses, an Australian Cattle dog and a cat that keep her occupied as well as doing yoga, running and playing croquet.

First Step Ballet are so thankful to have Stephen and Jill on board. We thank you both for all your love and support.

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