The grand finale of Martin House’s Strictly Get Dancing competition took place at the Engine Shed Wetherby last weekend, with Otley couple Anna and Liam McQuaid taking the coveted glitter ball trophy.
Now in its third year, the event saw 16 couples from across North, East and West Yorkshire waltz and cha-cha-cha to raise over £40,000 for the Boston Spa-based children’s hospice.
This year’s couples included five families with personal experience of Martin house and saw the return of previous runners-up Julie and Lee Walker, who stepped in at the last minute after another couple were unable to take part.
The final saw the culmination of six weeks’ intensive training with professional dance teacher Darren Hodgson of Harrogate Dance Centre, and each couple worked hard to raise over £500 in sponsorship, as well as inviting relatives and friends to witness their new-found talents on the final night.
The evening was once again hosted by ITV Yorkshire’s Duncan Wood and judges included President of the Dance Teacher’s Association 2014/15, Jane Tumelty, Emmerdale’s Jeff Hordley, The Grumbleweeds’ Robin Colvill and ITV Yorkshire Calendar’s Christine Talbot.
Dancers were treated to a full makeover by local beauticians and stylists before dazzling the crowds with an enchanting display of sequins, spray-tans, and cha-cha-chas.
Community Fundraiser and event organiser, Sarah Tarpey, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of the couples who danced in this year’s Strictly.
“Six weeks ago they had no idea how to dance the Waltz or Cha-Cha-Cha and yet, thanks to the tuition of expert dance teacher, Darren Hodgson, tonight they put on a stunning performance, wowing the judges with their technique and grace.
“Any one of them were good enough to have carried off the trophy, and Anna and Liam fought a tough competition to be crowned the overall Strictly champions 2016.
“They impressed the judges with their stunningly elegant waltz to Moon River and two of Anna and Liam’s boys, Finn and Zack, were ecstatic to see their parents win.”
Martin House provides family-led care for children with life-limiting illnesses. Each year the purpose-built facility at Grove Road caters for about 400 children and young people.
Sarah added: “The amount raised is a phenomenal achievement by these couples.
“A sincere thank you to everyone who danced, and to all those who contributed to the success of this year’s event.”
The hospice urges any couples looking to be considered for next year’s event to contact the fundraising team on 01937 844569 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.