The glitter balls are coming out of storage this September as St Luke’s are relaunching Strictly Learn to Dance. Previous winner Rachel Kibblewhite from Crewe talks about her Strictly experience and what it meant to her.

“When I first saw the Strictly Learn To Dance event advertised, I thought this is just too good to be true. Where else could I find the opportunity to have a complimentary strictly make over, wear sparkles, sequins, learn to dance and raise money for such a good cause.

I was a 43 yr old Wife, Mum to a young daughter and worked full time for Cheshire Police, time was precious to me, but the lesson time was important ‘me time’ to get some exercise, clear my head of the daily challenges and have fun amongst an amazing group of fellow Strictly fundraisers and the incredible team from St Luke’s.

As the event got closer, so did the group, helping each other practice, swapping ideas and tips on getting fixed up with outfits and putting the sparkle into our new skills. Anyone who wanted one was given the opportunity of a spray tan a couple of days before the event and it wasn’t just the ladies that said yes.

As we prepared ourselves for our moment in the spot light, we heard the venue filling with our families, friends and colleagues. I am not going to describe every moment of the what happened because I can’t do it justice with words and the incredible experience is personal to each dancer. What I will say is that it blew my mind and my expectations. I loved it. I am still dancing and my dance partner became a great friend to me and my husband. Tim and Dave have even been out to watch football together!

Following the Strictly event, with a cruel twist of fate, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February 2014. We then became on the receiving end of the amazing support that St Luke’s Hospice provide. It’s a nightmare that has become reality, but at every stage St Luke’s have been there for us with counselling, advice, offering complimentary therapy (for us both) and most of all total understanding for our situation.

The Strictly event got me dancing with Tim, my Strictly partner and my husband has made me continue with the dancing to give me a bit of time and space each week to re-charge my mind and coping strategies through music and laughs. I’m so happy I took part in Strictly Learn to Dance and I would recommend it to anyone, I had such a fantastic time and I’ve made many great memories and friends.”

If you have been inspired by Rachel’s story please contact Catherine Moore on 01606 555832 to take part in this year’s Strictly Learn to Dance.