On the evening of Sunday 5th May, the ballroom of The Atlantic Hotel in Newquay filled as the audience of over 300 took to their seats with the anticipation and excitement growing both front and back stage.
24 dancers took to the stage to perform in a group dance of the Paso Doble performed to The Greatest Show and then braved the floor as each couple stepped out in front of the judges to showcase the skills they had been learning and perfecting in the last 9 weeks of tuition. The couples danced a range of ballroom and Latin styles with the Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Jive, Charleston, Tango and American Smooth, delighting the audience with their style, grace, jumps and lifts.
Very few of the dancers had any previous experience and some of the couples only met when taking part in the competition and fundraiser. Weekly tuition was provided by Clare Lawrence, Dance Teacher and Community Fundraiser for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity with choreography assistance from Sian Foster.
“I am completely in awe of the dedication shown by all our dancers, an incredible amount of soul, community and teamwork has made this event way beyond anything that we could have imagined” said Clare Lawrence.
The evening was compered in his own Cornish style by comedian Kernow King who put the couples at ease before their performances and in keeping with the format of the popular TV show, the couples were critiqued and scored by a panel of four judges –Jason Thomas from Jason Thomas Dance, dance professional Becci Gowers, Neil Caddy breakfast show presenter on Pirate FM and BBC Radio Cornwall’s Debbie McCrory. Each judge was delighted, entertained and impressed by the achievements of the couples and praised all of their performances but ultimately had to decide on the couple that would lift the glitterball trophy.
In a nail biting finish, two couples with equal top scores of 40 were called back to the dance floor for a dance off. Mel Terry, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Tom Martin, Sales Manager at Kernow Stone, danced the Jive with an intriguing and creative story to introduce them to the stage but it was Mieke Ten Eikelder, Consultant Gynaecologist and partner Zaid Hasafa, Endometriosis Fellow, with their sizzling Samba that wowed the judges in the end and lifted the glitterball trophy as the Come Dance With Us 2019 champions.
“The night was like a nice dream. It was so good to see that I made people laugh and smile. On top of all that, apparently my performance impressed the audience. Glad to do all of the above for a good cause and to raise money to support the hospital charity and glad to belong to the Royal Cornwall Hospital family and to the wonderful endometriosis centre.”
Said Zaid, Winner of the ‘Come Dance with US’ Glitterball, along with his partner Mieke who also added
“Marvellous splendid life altering experience! Got the chance to know a fabulous, fantastic group of people who all worked so hard to raise money for their chosen charitable funds. Everyone danced amazingly well! I believe we are all winners!”
Other awards were given for The People’s Champions, voted by the audience on the night, going to Katie Steward, Critical Care Sister and Jonathan Paddle, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine.
David Whinney, ENT Surgeon, received a special award as the highest fundraiser having raised over £5000 for the ENT fund of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.
Each of the dancers chose a fund of the charity to support with many dancers choosing to support the General Fund which all staff across the Trust are able to apply to for funding and others choosing the funds specific to their areas of work. Total funds raised are so far at just over £28,000 with this amount set to rise further.
Karen Murrish, Fundraising Manager for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, explains more;
“Come Dance With Us! Has been such a huge success, the amount raised by our dancers, and of course their teams behind them, has been phenomenal and as with all funds raised for our charity, the donations will be used to provide additional equipment, enhance facilities or perhaps to provide another level of staff training or support that would not normally be available.”
“The charity’s aim is to help provide care and facilities that go beyond what the NHS alone is able to provide always with the ultimate beneficiaries being our patients. Aside from the funds, this event has helped to raise awareness of our charity and overwhelmingly the positive energy and pure buzz created across the Trust through our dancers has had an impact that will be long lasting,” said Karen.
“It would not be possible to hold such an event without the support of our many wonderful volunteers and of course the numerous corporate supporters that gave donations, time and expertise to create such a success. Special thanks go to headline sponsors, Independent Financial Advisers, Worldwide Financial Planning for their continued support,” Karen added.
Due to the popularity of the first event, the charity team have added an additional event a ‘Showcase Evening’ which will be held on Friday 31st May at The Burrell Theatre in Truro School. Some tickets are still available for this event by calling 01872 252858 or visiting the charity pod in the Trelawny Wing entrance at Royal Cornwall Hospital.
The dancers can still be sponsored via their online fundraising pages which can be found by visiting http://royalcornwall.nhs.uk/charity and a silent auction is running until the 31st May with the following special prizes up for grabs:
- Meet the cast and be an extra on the Doc Martin set, Courtesy of Buffalo Pictures
- A two night stay, B&B and dinner on one night at Tregenna Castle, St Ives.
- Champagne Afternoon Tea for two at The Scarlet Hotel,
- Two Course Meal for Two with a bottle of wine at The Heron Inn, Malpas.
- A set by garden jazz group ‘The Specialists’ at a venue and date agreed by the winning bid and the band.
- An afternoon Cream Tea for two at The Atlantic Hotel, Newquay
Bids for lots can be received by the charity team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01872 252858 up to 31st May.