A WOMAN with learning difficulties was ordered off the dance floor of a social club as she enjoyed a festive night out with her parents, it was claimed this week.
Sharon Timmins, 43, went to the Grand Club, Blackburn Road, Great Harwood, on Christmas Eve to dance, while her parents Keith and Ann Timmins, of Harwood Lane, watched from the sidelines.
But Mr Timmins was horrified when he was approached by bar staff, who, he claims, asked him to keep Sharon off the dance floor.
He said: "A man came to us and said: 'I don't like asking this but can we have the dance floor clear?' We thought that they were going to put something on but nothing happened so I went up and ordered a drink and asked how long she had to stay off the dance floor. The person behind the bar pointed to a man and told me to ask him.
"I explained to him and he said: 'I don't want her on the floor'. When I asked what he meant he said: 'She doesn't look right standing there on her own like that' and that was more or less the end of the conversation. I didn't know what to say.
"When we were leaving, he was standing by the door and I thanked him for ruining our daughter's Christmas.
"To me this is an out-and-out act of discrimination against somebody with a learning disability and we don't feel they should be allowed to get away with it. We are seeking legal advice."
Mrs Timmins added: "Sharon loves dancing. She stands on one side and doesn't bother anyone. She had about five or six dances before we were asked if we could remove her. I had to tell her that the dancing had finished."
Club secretary Jim Ashcroft denied discrimination.
He said: "The parents were sitting there drinking and they were asked to supervise her and dance with her because it can get a bit hectic and we were a bit concerned about her safety.
"We told them that we have a responsibility to look after people. If she had tripped up or somebody had knocked her over we would have been liable. We acted respectfully towards them and we don't want to spoil anybody's fun."
He stressed that the family had not been asked to leave the club.