Seashell Trust quickstepped its way to a record-breaking £123,000 at its glittering fundraiser – helped by Strictly celebrity stars Denise van Outen and Gethin Jones.
Following ten weeks of intensive training, nine big names from north west business and society went from non-dancers to a toe-to-toe public dance-off at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel.
Actress Denise showed off her expertise, gleaned from coming runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing in 2012, by heading up the judging panel.
Welsh TV presenter Gethin, third in 2007, compered the spectacular show.
He acknowledged the bravery of the Strictly Seashell dancers, saying: “A big shout-out to our contestants who have never danced before. I’ve been there, it’s nerve-racking.”
The event raised £123,000 with money still coming in to the Stockport charity Seashell Trust, which provides care and education for children and young people with complex learning difficulties and communication needs.
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Dominic Tinner, head of fundraising at Seashell Trust, said: “The event exceeded our wildest expectations.
“Our sponsors, dancers and their friends once again took Seashell Trust to their hearts to raise a record-breaking amount for the charity.
“The funds will go directly to supporting our work educating and caring for some of the most profoundly disabled children and young people who have little or no ability to communicate verbally.
“I know they and the staff want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those involved.”
Overall champion Joanne Gallemore, from The Hut Group, wowed the judges with her quickstep receiving the coveted perfect score of four 10s while Pretty Little Thing’s Aisha Kamani’s cha cha cha captured the audience’s imagination, winning the viewers’ phone vote.
Michael Josephson MBE, managing director of Stocks 2015 Ltd, Sanjeev Bhatia, director of Terminal 1 clothing, Jodie Moulding, also from the Hut Group, Martine Tempest-Mitchell, from Timpson Group, Lisa Morton from Roland Dransfield PR, Dianne Bourne, from I Love Manchester, and the director of Home Bargains, Joe Morris, were the other stars of the show partnering with experienced dancers from Cadmans Dance Centre, Academy of Dance Wilmslow and Hayley Pearson of Boodles.
Make Events was the official event partner and sponsors included PZ Cussons, The Hut Group, Together Money, Pretty Little Thing, Morson and Boodles.