Strictly Northampton stars raise amazing £55,000 for Cynthia Spencer Hospice with 10th anniversary show

Charity dance show Strictly Northampton has raised more than £55,000 for local charity Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

A wildly-applauding audience watched a Strictly style charity dance show on Friday night at the Derngate theatre in Northampton, staged by Step By Step Dance School.

Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, Strictly Northampton 2021, was won by Mathew Hancock and dance partner Jessica Box from the dance school.

The couple achieved a perfect 10 from every judge for their cha cha cha and tango routines, and their group freestyle.

Twenty-six-year old Mathew, who manages CMC garage in Kingsthorpe, said: “Winning Strictly Northampton 21 has come as a shock – still days later it doesn’t feel real. I used to dance as a child but its been a very long time since I had been on stage in front of so many people. The crowd were so immense.

“There were times throughout the day when my nerves were just like a rollercoaster but I just had to carry on.

“The best moment of the night was being on stage with all my fellow contestants and professionals and everyone smiling. Winning the show was epic – I just didn’t expect it though!”

Second place went to Tara Williams-Morris and Dan Turner and Gemma Ridley and her dance partner Ben Griffiths scooped third place.

The 32 contestants and their dance partners had spent eight Sundays being taught by teachers from Step by Step Dance School, before performing either the Tango and cha cha cha, or waltz and jive and a group freestyle.

Dance director of Step by Step Dance School, Andrzej Mialkowski, said everyone involved had given up a lot of time to ensure a spectacular evening full of polished performances.

They had all also invested an enormous amount of time in organising fundraising events in a bid to reach an ambitious fundraising target.

And reach it they did in spectacular style – raising over £55,000 from fundraising events, ticket sales and text voting on the night.

The money will go to Cynthia Spencer Hospice, a Northampton charity that supports families who are facing life-limiting illnesses.

The Strictly show, sponsored by Chelton Brown Letting and Sales, was compered by Aaron Williams.

Judges were former professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, Flavia Cacace; dance teacher and choreographer Michael Gonzalez and dance director Jo Mialkowski. Robin Windsor was due to be on the judging panel, but unfortunately had to pull out due to contracting covid. Ballroom and latin dancer Richard Maddock stepped in at the last minute.

They were all “dazzled” by the couples set routines and group performances which embodied the theme, “Celebrating Dance”.

Eight couples were picked to go through to the final based on judges’ marks and text votes.

Whilst all the scores and votes were added up the audience were treated to a display by students from Step by Step dance school.

Kelvin Crick won the “Our Most Improved Dancer Award”.

A community nurse from Cynthia Spencer Hospice, Sarah Stride was named as the show’s highest fundraiser raising more than £9, 000 for the hospice.

Andrzej said: “What a night! I am actually lost for words but I am absolutely super proud of everyone. You all danced amazingly well and raised over £55,000 for Cynthia Spencer Hospice.”

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Northampton Chronicle and Echo