It’s top marks for Strictly St Leonard’s

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Tadcaster’s Riley-Smith Hall hosted the glittering finals of the Strictly St Leonard’s contest last Saturday.

In front of a crowd of 300, 12 couples showed off their skills after six weeks of rehearsals with British amateur Latin sequence dance champion, Chris Robinson.

Contestants did one group dance followed by individual dances, and learned to dance the jive, the waltz and the Viennese waltz.

As well as Chris Robinson, the judging panel was made up of journalist and broadcaster Harry Gration, and senior lecturer of dance at York St John University Nicola Forshaw. The panel selected winners in three categories.

The award of “top fundraisers” went to nurses Ben Rennison and Gill Wilson who raised more than £3,500 for St Leonard’s Hospice.

Most improved dancers were mother and daughter duo Julie and Emma Weston.

Most improved individual was announced as Jake Broadbent of Tadcaster, who won the hearts of the audience who gave him and partner Shannen Midgley a standing ovation.

However, it was dentists Claire and Peter Nixon from Copmanthorpe who flossed their way to a win.

Events fundraiser at St Leonard’s Hospice, Katie Jackson, said: “It was amazing to see the transformation of the couples over the six week period and they all did so fantastically well on the night in front of a supportive audience of family, friends and colleagues.

“It was an amazing night and money is still being counted and sponsorship money is still coming in but it is expected that the event will have raised over £21,000 for St Leonard’s Hospice!”

She added: “None of this would have been possible without our dance instructor Chris Robinson, host Ben Fry and professional displays from Rosie Powers, Ian Whyatt and Flight Effects Dancers.

A huge chocolate glitter ball created by Ashley at the Sun Inn was auctioned to raise £410.

Enter next year’s Strictly contest by phoning the hospice on 01904 777777.