If you’re anything like me, then Strictly Come Dancing is a regular part of your weekend TV viewing.

I am always taken in by the dazzling costumes and the array of talent on display- this year, seeing Bury actor, Layton Williams’ natural flair for dance, has been an especially added highlight.

Nine local dancing couples also know what it feels like to develop their dance abilities.

Over the last few months, the participants in the 2023 Strictly Best Foot Forward contest have been learning new dances to perform at the grand finale, which is taking place this weekend (Saturday, November 11 at Swinton Masonic Hall).

Spearheaded by hospice trustee and fundraising volunteer, Deborah Lisle, the Strictly-style competition raises one of the biggest amounts of funds for the hospice each year, ensuring the ongoing support of essential palliative and end-of-life care.

Many of the couples dancing this year have never danced before but they have bravely taken on the challenge with the view to raise as much funds as they possibly can, (each dancer having pledged to raise a minimum of £500 in support of the hospice).

Bury Times: The Strictly event dancersThe Strictly event dancers (Image: Bury Hospice)

I dropped into a recent rehearsal and I enjoyed seeing the many smiles as the dancers voluntarily learned new routines and techniques, taught to them by dance professionals who, themselves have freely donated their time and dance studio (LARK Dance, Drama and Gymnastics).

It has also been touching to hear the reasons why the dancers have decided to take part in the contest this year; some of whom have shared their personal stories of having loved ones directly experience our valued hospice care services.

Bury Times: Two of the Strictly event dancersTwo of the Strictly event dancers (Image: Bury Hospice)

Dance competitor, Elizabeth (Liz) Livingstone’s mum was a patient at the hospice Inpatient Unit before she sadly passed away.

Liz said: “The last six months have been challenging for me and my family, loosing mum, but we know how wonderful we found the care the hospice provided, and how invaluable that was. We’d give anything to support this cause.

“I know these are challenging times but whatever you could donate would go to the most worthy of causes.

“I promise to put my sequins on and give it my all.”

It would be great if you would support the hospice and the 2023 Strictly dancers (Clare Lomax, Julie Cunningham, Lesley Woods, John Cunningham, Rowan Pollard, Dionne Burwin-Roycroft, Matthew Aspden, Louis Bancroft, Elizabeth Livingstone, Beverley Parker, Paul Condon, Lisa Bilardi, Alison Chapman, Kirsty Allen, Mark Gregory, Karen Borg, Luis McBriar, and Artjoms Markovins).

You can donate on the dedicated JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/burystrictly2023.