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Charity Charleston dance duo step out in the mall

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SHOPPERS were taken a step or two back in time when they spotted a couple of dancers doing The Charleston through the intu Braehead mall.

The shopping centre is sponsoring the popular Strictly Come Prancing fundraising night organised by St Vincent’s Hospice, Johnstone, tomorrow (Friday March 20)
The sell-out charity night is being held at The Normandy Hotel, Renfrew and is based on the Strictly Come Dancing TV show.

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The event features ten couples who have volunteered to put in hours of practice learning dance routines from a choreographers, Lisa Marie McLaughlin and Gordon Elliott.
And on Friday night they take to the floor in their different ballroom dance outfits provided by That Looks Good, costume hire based in Greenhill Road, Paisley, hoping to lift the Strictly Come Prancing title.

One couple taking part in the competition – Robert Martin and Jennifer Mahon, from Foxbar, in Paisley – got in some extra practice in front of a rather large audience when they took to the mall for some last minute practice.

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Jennifer, 23, a nursery nurse said: “This whole thing has been amazing for me. I’ve been watching Strictly Come Dancing on TV for years and I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance.”

Personal trainer, 22-year-old Robert added: “I know Jennifer from going to the same gym and she persuaded me to be her dance partner in the competition.
“I wouldn’t have agreed if it wasn’t to raise money for the St Vincent’s Hospice charity.
“Learning to dance is really taking me outside my comfort zone, but I’m enjoying it and getting along a lot better than I thought I would.”

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “The St Vincent’s Hospice do a fantastic job and we’re more than happy to help out by sponsoring their Strictly Come Prancing event.
“The dancers who will be competing have put in a lot of hard work practising and I’ve no doubt they will impress the audience with their new skills.”

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Strictly pix 1: Strictly Come Prancing competitors, Jennifer Mahon and Robert Martin get a perfect 10 score from security supervisor, Gareth Gillies at the intu Braehead mall who are sponsoring the charity event.

Strictly pix 2-5: Strictly Come Prancing competitors, Robert Martin, Jennifer Mahon get in some last-minute practice at the intu Braehead mall who are sponsoring the charity event.

Strictly pic 6: Strictly Come Prancing competitors, Robert Martin, Jennifer Mahon and their choreographer Gordon Elliott get in some last-minute practice at the intu Braehead mall who are sponsoring the charity event.

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Pro Life and hospice working together as Strictly hits town

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Dedicated dancers will be hot to trot and thrilled to tango when they take to the floor at this year’s Strictly Come Prancing competition to raise vital funds for St Vincent’s Hospice.

The big hearted fund raisers have stepped up to strut their stuff at the big event in the Normandy Hotel on Friday, March 20.

Ten couples, who are backing the charity by putting themselves up before a team of judges to battle it out for the coveted prize, have been working with their choreographers since November last year.

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Now, training at the Pro-Life Fitness Centre in Paisley has been stepped up as the glitz and glamour evening draws closer.

The dancers are being put through their paces by last year’s winners Lisa Marie McLaughlin and Gordon Elliot – both dance teachers and qualified choreographers.

Having taken to the floor themselves the pair know exactly what the couples, who range in age from their mid 20’s to over 60, are facing.

Gordon, who celebrated his recent 30th birthday pairing up with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Russian professional Kristina Rihanoff for lessons, revealed there are a few nerves but excitement is mounting and he can’t wait to see the couples on the dance floor.

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He said:”Lisa Marie and I were absolutely thrilled to win last year. It was a tremendous evening with a wonderful atmosphere and we were ecstatic when our quick step routine wowed the judges.

“Then to be asked to do the choreography for the dancers for the 2015 showdown was such a privilege for us.

“This big night raises thousands of pounds for the hospice which does incredible work for the people of Renfrewshire so it’s wonderful that our couples volunteered to put themselves up for the training which takes time and dedication.

“They have all worked really hard on their routines and Lisa Marie and I are really proud of what they have achieved. It should be a great show and fantastic evening for everyone who comes along.

“I know the dancers are all working hard at getting sponsorship too and if anyone can help out with that they should contact the hospice. Pro-Life has given us such great support and Intu Braehead has come in with sponsorship for the event which is smashing.”

Last year St Vincent’s raised more than £25,000 and the year before, because it was over two nights, they raised an incredible £37,000 from the evenings with the money going to help provide care and support for those who have life-limiting illnesses and their families too.

Gordon, who also works as an administrative assistant at Renfrew High School, added: “Our amateur dancers will be tackling a number of dances including the Charleston, cha-cha-cha, Viennese Waltz, Quick Step and a couple of Foxtrots. I have no doubt the audience will be impressed by the performances.”

While Gordon and Lisa Marie will be supporting their new students from the sidelines they are also taking part too. They will open and end the show with their own new routines.

Gayle Brannigan, chief executive at Pro Life which is run by Renfrewshire Sports Charity, said: “Every pound profit we make goes to our hospices – both St Vincent’s and ACCORD so we are urging all our members to back Strictly Come Prancing.

“We are delighted to be able to help out by opening up our studio to the dancers for their training. We are all looking forward to the big night and another great fundraiser for St Vincent’s.

“Well done to everyone who has been working so hard on their performances.  I can’t wait to see them.”

The hospice say they are delighted with the support of the dancers, sponsors intu Braehead, the choreographers, Pro-Life and everyone who has helped pull it altogether.

“Each of the dancers has promised to raise £250 for the hospice so the big winners on the evening will be St Vincent’s,” a spokesperson said.

For more information, to sponsor any of the couples or donate a prize for the tombola call St Vincent’s on 01505 705635.

 

Every pound profit made at the Pro-Life Fitness Centre in Paisley is donated to St Vincent’s and ACCORD hospices.

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Lisa Marie and Alex Whelan Jnr from Pro Life with the couples who have stepped up their training schedules at the Paisley fitness centre.

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Last year’s Strictly Come Prancing winners Gordon Elliot and Lisa Marie McLaughlin who are choreographers for this year’s competitors.