Sporting stars glitz up strictly for fundraiser

Pictured, from left, Richard Todd, Sally Yelland, Oli Brennand, Lorraine Stacey, Greg Nicholls, Michelle Bairstow, Martin Darkins, Julie Foster, Karen Gray-Thornton, Roger Westbrook  prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's version of Strictly Come Dancing

Pictured, from left, Richard Todd, Sally Yelland, Oli Brennand, Lorraine Stacey, Greg Nicholls, Michelle Bairstow, Martin Darkins, Julie Foster, Karen Gray-Thornton, Roger Westbrook prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's version of Strictly Come Dancing

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There’s a sparkling glitter-rugby-ball trophy up for grabs as a team of sportsmen take on Strictly Come Dancing.

Players, committee members and supporters will all take to Fylde Rugby Club’s dancefloor on Saturday for a fundraising event.

Lorraine Stacey and Oli Brennand prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Lorraine Stacey and Oli Brennand prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Eight couples will compete in ballroom and Latin dances, as well as performing a group dance, in front of a sold out crowd at the Woodlands ground in Ansdell - to win paid-for votes to boost the club’s coffers.

Ladies committee member and one of the organisers Julie Filmer said the club had heard of others hosting a similar night with great results.

And with her friend Pat Sumner, who runs Fit Steps dance classes - based on the ballroom and Latin styles of Strictly Come Dancing and run by the show’s professionals Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite, she recruited a team of ‘professional’ dancers to train their volunteer students.

Early on in the training process, she said some pairings had been ‘mad keen and others maybe not’, but now all eight couples were getting into the groove.

It’s the reality of it now, they can see all the preparation is going on for the event, around their actual performances

Now, with the training sessions counting down to the big night, they were raring to go.

“They are all absolutely nervous as anything,” Julie said. “It’s the reality of it now, they can see all the preparation is going on for the event, around their actual performances.

“They have all worked so hard and put in so many hours of rehearsal, they have really taken it seriously - and don’t want to show themselves up.”

The event follows hot on the high heels of Strictly Come Dancing’s annual visit to Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom, with the competitors gaining inspiration from the big show.

Richard Todd and Sally Yelland prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Richard Todd and Sally Yelland prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

And there have been added benefits for some of the competitors, according to Julie, who said one committee member had lost ‘loads of weight’ since starting training, and a hair and make-up team has even been pulled in to make sure everyone looks the part.

Among those taking the floor as a professional will be St Annes mayor Coun Vince Settle - who was spotted dancing at a local event to be recruited for the fundraiser.

“He started dancing with his wife a couple of years ago and has become an exceptional dancer,” Julie said. “One of our ladies committee girls came along to dance with him, expecting something lovely and slow - and that’s not what she got.”

Roger Westbrook and Karen Gray-Thornton

Roger Westbrook and Karen Gray-Thornton

Martin Darkins and Julie Foster prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Martin Darkins and Julie Foster prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Martin Darkins and Julie Foster prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Martin Darkins and Julie Foster prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Greg Nicholls and Michelle Bairstow prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing

Greg Nicholls and Michelle Bairstow prepare for the Fylde Rugby Club's verion of Strictly Come Dancing