Home-Start Strictly event gets local toes tapping

We were so delighted to hold our very first long-awaited “Strictly for Charity” fundraising event on Saturday 14th May.

Inspired by the hit TV show “Strictly Come Dancing,” the event took place at the Cambridge Vale Hotel, Shepreth, with twenty dancers taking to the floor in aid of our charity.

The ten couples, consisting of one celebrity and one professional partner apiece, have spent the last few months practising, ready for the performance, which was held in front of an enthusiastic audience from the Royston area and beyond.

Rapturous applause greeted the dancers, with the celebrities – recruited from local businesses, community groups and Home-Start’s supporters – all partnered by professional dance teachers and ballroom enthusiasts.

Author and performer Sarah Harrison was one of the celebrity dancers. “I reckon the Home-Start team made a lot of dreams come true with their triumphant Strictly event,” says Sarah, who wowed the audience with her graceful Foxtrot to the Michael Bublé classic “Call Me Irresponsible.” “The room was buzzing with happy people and the sheer joy of dancing. I’m so happy – I may still be walking on air, but I’ll ke-e-ep dancing!”

Sarah Harrison ready to Foxtrot

The panel of five judges, which included Royston Mayor Mark Hughes, local businessman Bob Tulloch, West End performer Lynsey Britton, ISTD Examiner Mary Hanson and TV personality Peter Heppelthwaite, were present to give constructive feedback to the competitors and award their scores.

In the elegant surroundings of the venue’s recently refurbished Event Suite, the 260-strong audience was treated to a variety of Latin and Ballroom dances from the competitors, interval entertainment from local harpist Julia Mitchell of “Peaceful Strings,” and vocal duo “Melancholy,” who sang a selection of musical theatre numbers, and our guests enjoyed a two-course buffet supper. The festivities were expertly guided under the excellent care of our compere for the evening, Jude Simpson (Home-Start’s Poet-in-Residence), DJ Tony Cronshaw and sound and lighting technicians Emma and Joe Daintrey.

Audience member Linda said: “From the warm welcome, through to the wonderfully high standard of dancing, excellent compering, thoughtful comments from the judges, fun music, tasty buffet and informative programme – everything was really enjoyable.”

And, in true ‘Strictly-style’, once all the couples had danced, the audience was invited to vote for the winning routine. The votes were stringently counted by Home-Start staff, and the winners were announced: Toby Pilcher from Curwens Solicitors and Naomi Wallen from DanceMatters, with their outstanding tap-dancing routine to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by They Might Be Giants.

Naomi, who runs a community dance school, “DanceMatters” in Bassingbourn, was delighted to be announced as the winning professional: “My dancing partner, Toby, has worked so hard, and we’ve had such a laugh in our lessons. We had a ball dancing at the Home-Start Strictly for Charity event because – after all – dance matters!”

Strictly Winners Toby and Naomi with Fraser of Ensum Brown (Credit: Ensum Brown)

The “Strictly for Charity” trophy, kindly provided by V B Trophies, Royston, was awarded by Fraser Clemence from the sponsors of the event, Ensum Brown. “We were delighted to have sponsored Home-Start’s Strictly For Charity,” says Neil, the managing director of the Royston-based estate agents. “The evening was full of many talented dancers, a warm, welcoming audience and great entertainment! Ensum Brown wants to help with local projects and good causes in our area. Well done to all of the dancers who participated; your hard work in preparation was clear to see throughout the evening.”

We are absolutely delighted with the success of this event, which has raised more than £10,700 for Home-Start. This significant amount of money will help to ensure that we can continue supporting local families with our Home Visiting Service, Family Support Group and everything else we need in place to run our charity efficiently and professionally. 

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the event and to remind everybody to “keeeep dancing!”

If you would like to get involved in any future events for Home-Start, including another Strictly for Charity (watch this space), then please get in touch by calling us on 01763 262262 or email events@hsrsc.org.uk.

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