Kettering Strictly event to boost Sebastian fundraiser for brave schoolboy battling rare cancer

Volunteers have started their training regime ahead of the Wicksteed Park show
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Supporters of a Kettering schoolboy battling cancer have put on their dancing shoes to begin their training for a Strictly-inspired fundraising show.

Dozens of volunteers will take to the dance floor of Wicksteed Park pavilion in March in honour of six-year-old schoolboy Sebastian Nunney.

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So far £9,500 has been raised by the Strictly for Sebastian contestants as members of the community get ready for the ballroom bonanza.

Strictly for Sebastian /National WorldStrictly for Sebastian /National World
Strictly for Sebastian /National World

MaSh Dance teacher Lisa Jones has been putting the dance newbies through their paces to prepare for the big event.

She said: “Everyone is so positive and enthusiastic to learn and they all work so hard. The progress that each couple and group show each week is incredible. Our ‘celebrities’ started this challenge with no dance experience, so to see them waltzing around the dance floor already, is such an achievement. They really are a fantastic group of people. I am extremely proud to be part of MaSh Dance and very thankful to have the help and support from Marye Simmons and Shelley Davis and the amazing team of teachers and dancers that are involved in helping make this event happen.

“The community have still shown such care and generosity. Local businesses are offering to sponsor the event, such as T James (Electrical), WM Curry, TypeStart, Big Bopper and The NTC, which will massively help towards covering costs and raising more funds.”

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Ballroom Brigade  - Strictly for Sebastian /National WorldBallroom Brigade  - Strictly for Sebastian /National World
Ballroom Brigade - Strictly for Sebastian /National World
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Taking part in the contest is Sebastian’s headteacher Drew Brown. He’s given up his weekends and joined colleagues to take part.

He said: “It is a privilege to be able to take part in what should be an extraordinary event. All of the team are working really hard to raise funds and try and support Sebastian and his family. Lisa and her fantastic team of dance teachers have been so supportive not only in dedicating their time but also supporting fundraising events.”

As well as beginners, two teams of more experienced dancers will add their skills to the line-up and there’s a special show dance by teachers and support staff from Brambleside Primary.

Terri Brooks, one of Sebastian’s teachers, will dance to show her support for him and his family.

Rehearsals are underway for Strictly for Sebastian /National WorldRehearsals are underway for Strictly for Sebastian /National World
Rehearsals are underway for Strictly for Sebastian /National World
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She said: “I came into this competition because I worked closely with Sebastian last year as his teacher and saw first-hand the pain and trauma that this awful illness causes to the child and family.

"I wanted to do whatever I could to help. But I am in no way a dancer and public performances are not something I would usually do, in fact they terrify me. Needless to say this is well and truly out of my comfort zone.

“Mash Dance teaching team are such a hugely positive bunch of people and made me feel at ease and comfortable straight away. My legs burn, my body aches but I feel like I have so much more energy and I am happier and more confident in myself. The dance teachers and owners at MaSh are so fabulous, every contestant and professional dancer is amazing and I look forward to the rehearsals. It is such good fun with genuinely gorgeous people, my face aches from laughing and smiling so much by the end of each session.”

Lisa Jones puts dancers through their paces - Strictly for Sebastian /National WorldLisa Jones puts dancers through their paces - Strictly for Sebastian /National World
Lisa Jones puts dancers through their paces - Strictly for Sebastian /National World

Contestant Year 5 teacher Owen White has promised to ‘keep dancing’ for Sebastian.

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He said: “This event was something massively out of my comfort zone as someone who had never attempted to dance before in their life. However, the cause is one which is very close to all the staff at Brambleside and when the opportunity came up to help out with fundraising and learn a new skill it was hard to say no. I'm confident it will all go to plan – keeeep dancing!”

In addition to the main event, many staff at Brambleside, who work face to face with Sebastian, wanted to show their support.

Paying tribute to Sebastian Natalie Goosey, Brambleside deputy headteacher, said: “He demonstrates great bravery, courage and always has a smile – it is the least we could do to help support this fundraising event. We would also like to give a massive shout out to all the friends and family at Brambleside Primary School who have been greatly supportive throughout our fundraising at the school.”