Yorkshire Sherlockalikes don their deerstalkers for a good cause

Sherlock Holmes fans at Temple Newsam, Leeds

Sherlock Holmes fans at Temple Newsam, Leeds - Credit: Archant

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote at length about Sherlock Holmes’ love of music but he never said a thing about his passion for dancing. Who knew that the cleverest man in London (England, nay the world) was partial to a bit of line-dancing?

Sherlock Holmes fans at Temple Newsam

Sherlock Holmes fans at Temple Newsam - Credit: Archant

Well, maybe the original wasn’t exactly renowned for his fleet footwork on the dancefloor, but 443 fans paying tribute to the fictional detective at Temple Newsam in Leeds certainly put their best feet forward (jiggled their hips and put them back again) in his honour.

Sherlock World Record attempt

Sherlock World Record attempt - Credit: Archant

The dancing detectives gathered in Yorkshire in a bid to beat the Guinness World Record for the Most People Dressed as Sherlock Holmes. The minimum number of people required to set a new record was 250. An attempt in London failed abysmally with just 113, but Yorkshire smashed it, beating the record by almost 200 and more than trebling the capital’s total.

The fans gathered at a dedicated Sherlock Festival in the grounds of the West Yorkshire mansion for music, dancing, circus skills and a funfair. They dressed in deerstalker hats and cloaks and wildly waved pipes and magnifying glasses before launching into a flash mob dance to the Bee Gees Staying Alive to give the Victorian detective a disco twist (dip and spin). The dance concluded, rather appropriately, with the theme tune to the BBC Sherlock series and, when the world record was announced, the gathering sang along to We Are The Champions (again, rather appropriately).

Sherlock and Dr Who writer Steven Moffat and TV producer Sue Vertue sent a video message of support for the Sherlock World Record, which was met with cheers and applause. They also donated a BBC Sherlock script which was signed by all the cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, for the best dressed Sherlock. The winner was

Christian Whitley from Leeds who, at 12, might be slightly younger than his hero but just as dapper.

But the day wasn’t just about dancing, daft hats and people randomly shouting ‘Elementary, my dear Watson!’, it was also about raising money for Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ bid to launch a new £2 million Yorkshire Brain Research Centre.

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Every Sherlockalike received a deerstalker, pipe and magnifying glass on the day of the world record event for an entry fee of £15, with all proceeds going to the charity.

Clair Challenor-Chadwick, appeal director of the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre, said: ‘Sherlock is the perfect fit for brain research as he’s the brainiest detective of all time. He is helping us raise awareness of this much under-funded area to help patients with dementia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and MS.’

The festival galvanised worldwide support with donations from Chile, France, the USA, Canada, Japan and Mexico. And Sherlocks from around the globe have been popping up on social media in #sherlockselfie images to help raise awareness of brain research, with postings from the Great Wall of China, Australian beaches and outside 221B Baker Street.

The new research centre will help people deal with life-limiting brain conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and dementia, by conducting research for patient benefit and to help scientists find new treatments and drug therapies.

According to appeal director Clair, there will be a 20 per cent increase in Parkinson’s by 2030, while numbers of dementia patients are expected to soar by 80 per cent.

For more information about the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre, visit ybrc.org.uk.