Ten nervous celebrities faced the judges and an audience of hundreds at Corby’s version of Strictly Come Dancing.
Strictly Corby, which took place at the Best Western Rockingham Hotel on Friday, is organised by Lakelands Hospice and this year the event raised £18,500, smashing last year’s total by almost £2,000.
The ‘celebrities’ included me and my dance partner Alex Turigel, who owns Desborough Fish Shop.
We, and the other couples, had to perfect routines for the waltz, cha cha and a show dance and then hope nerves didn’t get the better of us on the night.
The professionals are provided by MaSh Dance Studio, and give their time and expertise for free.
The scoring is based on how much sponsorship each couple raised as well as money raised by people paying for votes on the night.
Then the judges gave each couple scores for their three routines.
MaSh Dance Studio owner Shelley Davis said: “I was really pleased with the quality of the dancing, there were some very technical routines performed to a high standard.”
The Spirit of Strictly award for the person who had the most interesting journey went to Best Western DJ Joe Georgeson.
Lakelands fundraising manager and Strictly Corby organiser Paul Marlow said: “Due to a couple of celebrities dropping out, JJ and his partner Maria only had four-and-a-half weeks of training to perfect their dances.
“Their achievement was nothing short of incredible.”
JJ said: “I came into the process really late and had to fit in 10 hours of training a week around my day job, my DJ commitments and my bubbly two-year-old daughter.
“It was a real challenge but the award made it all worthwhile.”
Mr Marlow said: “We are all blown away to have beaten last year’s total, it’s a truly amazing effort by all the dancers who pulled together as a team to put on a professional show.
“This event really captures the Corby public’s imagination with the tickets selling out in just over an hour.
“The feedback from all quarters has been fantastic.
“There are so many people to thank, but without the support of the people of the Corby, who continue to get behind everything we do, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
The overall winners were Tim Linnell, representing Thomas Hairdressing of Oakham, and his professional partner Liz Rogers, whose show dance on the night scored a perfect score of 10s from the five judges.
The dancers were also awarded points for the amount of funds they raised in the lead-up to the night and these two scores combined gave Tim and Liz the overall title.
Tim said: “It was hard work and very time-consuming but a fantastic experience.
“The atmosphere on the night was electric although I was very nervous.
“Liz worked extremely hard choreographing our routine but to see the expression on her face when the winners were announced was worth all the effort.
“It’s also a very proud feeling to have helped raise so much money for a great cause.”
The runners-up were Francesco Lo Presti, representing RS Components, and his partner Ann Wood who performed an Argentine tango as their show dance.
In third place was Janine Mulligan, of Seatons Solicitors, who performed an American Smooth to rapturous applause.
Both Janine and Francesco commented on what an awesome experience it was and said they hope to continue dancing.