Novices take to the dancefloor to raise £32,000 for St. Luke’s Hospice

DANCE novices took to the dancefloor on Saturday (16th March) in a Strictly-inspired fundraising event for St. Luke’s Hospice, helping to raise a staggering £32,000 for the charity.

The popular fundraiser, now in its third year, sees budding dancers paired with professionals to compete for the Strictly St. Luke’s coveted trophy.

This year, nine couples bravely took part and each performed both a Latin and Ballroom dance for a panel of judges and a sold-out audience after months of rigorous training.

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The judges included professional dancers James Goodman, son of dancer and TV personality Len Goodman, Cheryl O’Leary, Yvonne Saunders and long-term supporter of St. Luke’s Hospice Peter Davies.

More than 500 people attended the fundraiser at the Civic Hall in Grays, including Basildon Mayor David Dadds. Deputy Mayor Danny Lawrence was compere alongside Leanne Kightly, Corporate Fundraiser at St. Luke’s Hospice.

The winners of the night were Dennis Dudley from Thurrock, who trained and danced with dance teacher Hannah Clifforth from United Dance Studios, Stanford-Le-Hope.

Dennis said: “I’ve fundraised for St. Luke’s Hospice for 10 years through marathons, but those who know me, know I’m always up for a challenge. I couldn’t think of a better charity to raise money for – St. Luke’s Hospice is very close to my family’s heart as they lovingly cared for my in-laws Bill and June in their final days.”

The event is organised by St. Luke’s Hospice and dancer Lynda King, who runs Lynda King Dance Ltd.

Leanne Kightly, Corporate Fundraiser at St. Luke’s Hospice, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported Strictly. St. Luke’s and helped raise money for the Hospice, including the dancers who spent months training and fundraising, the judges, the audience and Lynda King, who helps organise the event. It’s so inspiring to see how far the dancers come in such a short space of time. Thanks for competing and putting on a brilliant show!”

Money raised at Strictly St. Luke’s will support the Hospice in running vital services to support those living with life-limiting conditions. The event is one of many organised by the charity.

Are you inspired to take on a challenge for St. Luke’s Hospice? To find out how you can get involved, visit: www.stlukeshospice.com

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