Amateur dancers have waltzed their way to a fantastic fundraising total for a Kettering hospice.
The Strictly Kettering for Cransley Hospice event took place last weekend (Saturday, October 15) at Wicksteed Park, for the third year running.
And a staggering amount of more than £35,000 was raised for the London Road hospice.
This year took a slight change to the two previous events where rather than having groups dance together, individuals from Kettering were paired with professional dancers from Mash School of Dance to compete, in a similar fashion to the popular BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
Each ‘celebrity’ had 12 weeks to learn the waltz and cha cha cha as well as ‘show dance’ in whatever dance style they chose.
Their dancing was then performed in front of four judges and a lively audience of 500.
Along their journey, they each sought sponsorship and held their own fundraising events to raise as much money as possible for the hospice.
The judges for the evening were Marye Simmons – founder of Mash, formally known as Marye Simmons School of Dancing – Amanda Wilkins (principal of Kilburn School of Dance), Diana Patrick, representing Cransley Hospice, and mayor of Kettering Scott Edwards.
They had an incredibly hard job as the standard of dancing was so high, which is credit to all the teachers at Mash.
This year’s brave contestants and their dancing professionals were Jordan Ayre and Jessica Hewett, Petrina-Jean Bastuba and Stuart Hales, Nathan Bolt and Donna Collins, Amanda Key and Matt Brown, Lisa Hankins and Terry West, Caroline Prout and Alex Turigel, Claire Robinson and Anthony Bazin, Connor Stead and Sasha Davies, Simon Underwood and Laura Scriven and Bryan Walters and Liz Rogers.
All the dancers were awarded points for the amount of money they had raised, which were then combined with the judges’ scores on the night.
Runners-up on the night saw a joint third place awarded to Lisa and Terry and Caroline and Alex, with second place going to Amanda and Matt.
The champions of the evening were Simon and Laura, who performed in penguin outfits to Happy Feet.
PJ and Stuart also scooped the award of Judge’s Favourite following their routine to a Dirty Dancing medley.
The overall winners of the event, however, have got to be Cransley Hospice.
During the three years Mash has supported it by running these events, the collective total so far stands at a phenomenal £140,000, which will hopefully go some way towards helping it raise its annual target.
Should this story inspire you to put on a pair of dancing shoes, waltz on over to the Mash Dance website.
The search for next year’s contestants will begin soon, so should you want to take part in 2017 or know of someone who would, please contact the hospice for further details on 01536 452423.