Now in its seventh year, the Strictly Northampton Dance Competition attracted local personalities from across the county who put their best ‘Strictly’ foot forward to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust at a dance extravaganza at Derngate in Northampton on 19 November.
Oundle’s very own postmaster, Mick Patel was one of the contestants who took to the stage to perform for the coveted Strictly Northampton glitterball trophy. Mr Patel made his stage debut in handsome costumes accompanied by his glamorous partner, Helen Bond.
Mr Patel was convinced to participate by a friend who said, ‘You’ll come, you are doing it’, and ended up hugely enjoying it.
He had last danced when he was much younger, but when he started rehearsing for the dance competition, it all came flooding back. ‘It was hard at first, but it became second nature after all the repetition.’
Mr Patel trained with the other 48 dancers at the Step By Step Dance School in Northampton under the tuition of international dance champion Andrzej Mialkowski. After hard-core training two or three times a week over eight weeks, including three hours on Sundays, he was set to be up there with the best.
Along with his dance partner Helen Bond, Mr Patel learned a jive dance, an American smooth waltz, and a salsa. They also performed in a freestyle dance set to music from the Blues Brothers, for which he and Helen scored 10 points on the night.
The event was judged by Mike Wedderburn, a Sky News presenter, Jennifer Benavidez, a professional dancer, and Joanne Wittich, a dance champion. The evening’s winners were Allyson Harrison and James Wood from Ringstead.
Each contestant had a minimum target to raise £1000 for Teenage Cancer Trust and Mr Patel raised more than £4,800, which beat last year’s record for the most raised. The event raised more than £44,300 in total for the Trust.
The competition was an overall success with a sell-out audience of 1200, who were very enthusiastic and responsive. Despite the big crowd, Mr Patel said he ‘didn’t feel nervous, don’t know why’.
When asked if he could be convinced to do it again, Mick was very quick to reply, ‘No. Once is enough!’
Photo by Martin Farmer