Gluten-free tea dance ends coeliac disease awareness week

Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet NNL-180305-162556001
Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet NNL-180305-162556001

A gluten-free tea dance will end a week of raising awareness for coeliac disease as a charity marks its 50th anniversary.

Coeliac UK, an independent charity for people with gluten intolerance, has also joined up with Marks and Spencer for its Awareness Week from Monday to Sunday this week.

A Coeliac UK support group for Oxfordshire has been set up as the charity wants to increase the public’s knowledge of the auto-immune disease.

Chief executive Sarah Sleet said: “Half a million people remain undiagnosed and we need more support to help them get diagnosed and managing their condition with a gluten-free diet.”

Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and those diagnosed must maintain a strict diet to avoid serious complications including cancer.

Next week M&S will be holding special gluten free taster sessions at Marks and Spencer stores across the country including in Oxfordshire.

The dance in Ascott-under-Wychwood near Chipping Norton on Sunday, May 20, has been arranged by a couple who both have coeliac disease.

Geoff and Beryl Collins, who are in their early 70s, are keen dancers and organised the event to help raise awareness and also fundraise for the charity.

People of any ability are welcome for a combination of ballroom, Latin and modern sequence dances as well as a gluten-free afternoon tea. The dance is at Tiddy Hall in the village from 2.30-5.30pm, call the Collins on 07739 004158 to confirm your attendance.

For more information about the support group, email, and to learn more about coeliac disease, visit