10 intrepid couples battled it out and wowed their families, friends and colleagues on the stage at the Civic Hall, Bedworth on Saturday 21st April for a chance to win the coveted Mary Ann Evans Hospice ‘Strictly Learn to Dance Glitter Ball Trophy’.

The novice dancers had a 12 week training programme courtesy of Euphoria Dance Studios, Bedworth, which began back in January, where they were taught a Sizzling Salsa & Tantalising Tango by Dance Studio Principal, Kris Turner & Student Teacher, Molly Parkes.

The host and immensely talented, Matt Ford, who is widely regarded as the finest big band singer in the UK entertained the audience throughout the evening and added an extra bit of sparkle to the event. Matt sang swing hits including ‘Fly me to the Moon’, ‘Mac the Knife’ and had everyone in the audience up on their feet dancing during his final performance of ‘Is This the Way to Amarillo’. The audience were also treated to a truly captivating Rumba and Foxtrot demonstration by Arthur Surgonajev and Ellie-May Ashton from Euphoria Dance Studios.

The judges on the evening were current British Senior Modern Sequence Champion and Head Judge, Janette Fletcher, Hospice Patron, Kay Alexander and former competitive ballroom and latin dancer who has appeared on many TV and film projects including BBC great expectations and ITV The Halycon, Stephanie Warwick.

Sue & Steve Morris proved themselves king and queen of the dancefloor as they were crowned champions of Strictly Learn to Dance 2018. Not only did they score well on both dances, they also raised an impressive £1056 in sponsorship, making them the winners of the signed prints from Anton Du Beke & Erin Boag.

Steve & Sue said “I’d like say that Saturday was one of the best days of my life. I have loved dancing with Sue, we have laughed so many times throughout training, but Saturday was just amazing. We have made some good friends and will remember this for a very long time to come”.

Tracy Atkins & David Salt who took part in Strictly Learn to Dance 2017 and won both the Glitter Ball & Judges Trophy, competed for a second time to try and retain their title. They managed to impress the judges once again with full marks on both dances, winning the judges award.

Louise Smith, another one of the Strictly performers, works very closely with those with a terminal illness. She is a village advisor at Richmond Bede Village in Bedworth which has a 24-hour nursing home specialising in palliative care. The retirement village also provides independent and assisted living, and the Mary Ann Evans Hospice was delighted to have their support by being a sponsor of the event.

Jessica Atkinson said “We had an amazing evening and I am so proud of everyone who took part and all who helped in whatever way to make ‘Strictly Learn to Dance 2018’ such a success.  The contestants had the real ‘Strictly experience’ with hair by dance mums and make up by the students from Theatrical & Media Makeup at North Warwickshire & Hinckley College. Ballroom Bling, the UK’S No1 supplier of Jewellery for Ballroom and Latin dancers also donated stunning hair clips & jewellery for our ladies to wear.

The real winner is the Hospice, with over £9,000 raised so far for local Hospice care with sponsorship money still coming in.  I can’t thank everyone enough, all the dancers and those who supported them, together you have raised such a significant amount for patient care.  It has been a real pleasure to see the team’s journey from the beginning of their lessons, through to their amazing performances in the Grand Finale”.