Dancing the night away Legal eagle Claire lands Strictly trophy

SOLICITOR Claire Egerton lifted the glitterball on a fantastic night of dancing at the fourth Strictly Kershaw’s.

The O’Donnell Solicitors’ director topped the judges’ scoreboard with her partner and mentor Jack Easton.

The couple received a maximum score of 40 for their Rumba second dance after leading at halfway with their Tango.

“I am astonished to win,” said Claire. “It was such a fantastic experience.

“There will be a part of me that will be very sad come Thursday evening when I won’t be going to meet up with Jack and the rest of the dancers.

“We have all become so close with this and we are all winners because we have learned to do something that we never thought possible – dance in front of 300 plus people.”

Claire was given perfect 10 scores by chair of judges Gill Bussey, dancer Lee Marsh, drama teacher Kathryn Wolfenden and Coliseum panto ‘Cinderella’ Shorelle Hepkin (standing in for unavailable colleague Sue Devaney).

Mick Sheehan won the people’s choice prize after he and partner Abbie Royal got the text votes buzzing with toe-tapping Lindy Hop and Charleston routines.

“I can’t believe I have actually done it,” said Mick whose care business Home Instead sponsored the Hospice fundraising event.

“I had days during practice where my mind went blank and I couldn’t remember a single step!”

The evening started with a contemporary dance routine by local dance group Fierce Dance who count fundraising superstar Keira Arnold amongst their talented ranks.

The 10-year-old, who is the current national young fundraiser of the year, returned to the stage later to present the prizes.

Heyside Cricket Club chairman Joe Warburton had the tough task of being the first of the six competitors to perform.

“I was nervous but this is something I will always remember with pride,” said Joe as he celebrated later with partner Amy Rogers and his army of supporters.

He was followed by popular takeaway owner Kwok Wong, who did well to keep his emotions in check in dedicating their first American Smooth performance to Sam, a friend who had died in the Royton Hospice only two days earlier.

Kwok, who got sponsorship support from his Ree Ming customers, was determined to hit the £2,000 mark.

He dashed around the Queen Elizabeth Hall after his show-ending cha-cha-cha with partner Lia Kiely to gather top-up tenners and twenties from members of the appreciative audience.

Executive headteacher Michelle Dicken’s supporters had their own handmade ‘10’ paddles and cheered her on through her Rumba and Salsa numbers with partner Marco Maestro.

She later gave gifts to Madd for Dance owners Sean and Carole Madden on behalf of the dancers for their hours of commitment in helping them polish their routines.

The line-up was completed by stalwart Hospice supporter policeman PC Damieon Hartley Pickles.
“I have climbed mountains to raise funds for the Hospice but nothing was as tough mentally as this,” he said.

“I am delighted to have been able to show my friends and family that I can actually dance,” said Damieon after performing the Viennese Waltz and Paso Doble with mentor Shannon Royal.

Hospice Board member Paul Cook thanked everyone and invited Oldhamers to support the £2.1m plans that have been submitted to rebuild the In-Patient Unit.

Model Lanie Wilson, whose mother Debbie Swift died in the Hospice earlier this year, revealed the formation of a Tribute Fund in honour of her mother.

“My mother was full of praise for Dr Kershaw’s – she called it the Kershaw’s five-star hotel – and the company that Debbie worked for, CDL in Stockport, has pledged a phenomenal £10,000 a year to the fund.

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