'Unbelievably proud': Wakefield dancer, 11, becomes world champion at competition in Orlando

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It was a day 11-year-old Layla McDerby will never forget.

Taking the 4,000 mile trip to Orlando, Florida, young dancer Layla and her teammates from Panache Dynamites, danced away with the title of World Champions at the All Star World Championship on April 21 - the world's largest dance and cheer competition.

Proud mum, Kerry, said: "Panache senior team went to compete last year and came away as world champions, and this year it was the turn of the Youth Pom Team - and they walked away as world champions.

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"It's the first time they've been to the competition, competing throughout the season to win bids, which is a hard task.

Layla and her Panache teammates are world champions!Layla and her Panache teammates are world champions!
Layla and her Panache teammates are world champions!

"They were up against all American teams. It's a massive competition, with 1,663 teams, 24,000 athletes there, 3,000 coaches, 50,000 spectators and it was watched by two million on live stream.

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Layla, who dances for Wakefield City Cheerleaders as well as professionally for Panache, lives for dancing, mum said.

"She absolutely loves it. She trains twice a week after starting when she was around three or four years old.

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Celebrations with the Panache team!Celebrations with the Panache team!
Celebrations with the Panache team!

"She's only been dancing professionally for two seasons, I'm unbelievably proud."

And it wasn't just mum Kerry, dad Lee and brother, Oliver, 14, who were cheering Layla on.

"Layla's school, Crofton Junior School, has been fantastic," Kerry said.

"They made her good luck cards and were all sending her messages while she was out there. They've been so supportive.

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Panache danced their way to the finals - and were crowned world champions.Panache danced their way to the finals - and were crowned world champions.
Panache danced their way to the finals - and were crowned world champions.

Headteacher, Paul Birdsall, said the whole school is delighted for Layla.

"Her success is testament to the hard work, commitment and resilience she has shown to enable her talent to shine through.

"It's a wonderful achievement, and everyone connected with Crofton Junior School is extremely proud of her."

Layla is now looking forward to travelling to Barcelona in June to compete in cheer and pom and, along with her Panache Dynamite teammates, preparing to retain their champion title at the World Championship competition next year.

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