Dancing, spinning and toe-tapping raised a staggering £38,000 for Bury Hospice.
In an extraordinary night at the Longfield Suite, 13 couples took part in Strictly Best Foot Forward for Bury Hospice in a glitterball finale in front of prestigious judges.
They had given their all over 12 weeks of rehearsals, each with their own stories about why they were supporting Bury Hospice.
Organiser and volunteer Deborah Lisle, whose husband John died in Bury Hospice last year, admitted it was a dream come true to see her idea come to fruition.
“Strictly Best Foot Forward for Bury Hospice became a reality after combining my love of ballroom dancing and my support for Bury Hospice.
“The idea is not new, several hospices up and down the country hold similar events but we put the plans in place in April and a shout out for contestants went out soon after.
“We initially had lots of ladies come forward but the men needed more encouragement and a little bit of arm twisting.
“However at the end of July we launched the event with a get together, those who needed to be paired up found their partners.
“From the first night this project exploded and we knew we had something special.
“Each and every one of our contestants had their own reasons, stories, hopes and expectations which have become more apparent over the 12 weeks of training.”
Two dance schools supported the event – A Touch of Class dance studio in Little Lever headed up by Teresa Croasdale and Active Dance in Radcliffe under Nadine Purslow.
Judges were Slade star Noddy Holder, his wife Suzan Holder, Hospice Patron Tracy Mort MBE and two experienced dance teachers Alan Newman and Thomas Cliff, who judge professional competitions.
Gordon Burns from ITV hosted the evening assisted by Paul Horrocks, a hospice trustee.
“The end result was a spectacular evening, I am so proud of each of our stars and for the hard work they have put into their fundraising for such a worthy cause,” added Deborah.
One contestant Tom Johnson raised a fantastic £8,600 and was doing it in memory of his friend Nicola Groves who died aged 48 in Bury Hospice.
Tom said: “I don’t think I have ever been so nervous as the moment I walked out on to the floor for the introduction and first dance.
“But the evening was flawless – the team from Bury Hospice should be very pleased with themselves.
“My aim was always to raise as much money as possible but a tiny part really wanted to walk away with a trophy – I finished with two!
“I collected the ‘Outstanding Fundraiser’ and ‘Audience Choice’ – and a medal for competing!
“It’s been a simply amazing 13 weeks and a period of my life which I will never forget. None of us were dancers, we were just ordinary folk who decided to give something a go because of events in our lives or connections we had.
“It’s amazing what ordinary folk can do when they put their minds to it and the collective effort of hundreds, if not thousands, of ordinary people produced one extraordinary evening!
“The catalyst for my particular extraordinary journey was my best mate Nicola Groves. I hope I did her proud.”
Hospice fundraiser Dale Mulgrew added: “The amount raised was staggering. What was truly wonderful was that this was a real team effort. Although we have had an outstanding amount raised by Tom, all of our Strictly participants contributed to the overall total and many raised well over the target set at the start of the challenge.
“Couple this with the fact we could have sold the event out twice due to an insatiable demand for tickets for the Glitterball Finale and the fundraising has been an incredible success.”