Kirkham teacher whose son died from rare genetic illness will 'live the Strictly dream' in Dance Floor Heroes at Blackpool Winter Gardens
and live on Freeview channel 276
Will Norris, 33, had no idea that his wife, Nichole, had entered him in the Strictly-style contest.
Now the assistant headteacher will get to train with a professional dancer and perform on stage at the Winter Gardens - all to raise awareness of mental health.
Will, who struggled with depression after the death of his son in 2015 said: “I was fortunate enough to have people around me to pick me up and help me move forward. My wife wanted me to do this for myself, as well as to raise awareness.”
Will and Nichole lost their first child to lethal skeletal dysplasia, a rare genetic condition that developed in the womb. Baby James survived for 30 minutes, and he said it was ‘really special and lovely’ to meet him, as they had been warned that it might not be possible.
And he had been training for a charity dance event at his rugby club, which helped him at the time.
He added: “I'm coming out of the other side and dance has played a part in my recovery. My wife says everything, the training and lessons, is for me to help get back to being me. But for me, everything I do is about helping others.”
Will has worked with special needs children for 14 years, at Pear Tree school in Kirkham.
Some of the children know about the competition through social media, but he is not allowed to give away too many details.
He will be travelling to Leicester for weekend rehearsals with his professional dance partner before the big fundraising event on Feb 24, 2023.
His wife and two children Bella, 6 and Arlo, 2, are not allowed to know all the details.
“It’s all very secretive. I’ve never done anything on this scale before, it’s as near to Strictly Come Dancing as you can get.”
Will said he had no lessons in ballroom or Latin dance when he attended the first heat, on April 01, 2022.
He attended a full day’s workshop at Blackpool Winter Gardens, which involved learning some dance routines and taking part in team-building activities.
Now his partner has a challenge ‘to turn this flat footed, energetic, slightly uncoordinated and non musical person into a dancer in a short period of time.’
Through a long process consisting of heats all over the country, including Blackpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Hampshire, Will was selected for the final 12. He also had to get through two other rounds - which involved sending video audition clips.
The show is the ultimate dance floor battle, as complete novice dancers have been paired with a professional partner as they train to win the Glitterball!
The show brings the dance floor to life, all in aid of Tia’s Crown – a charity set up to support mental & physical wellbeing through free Let’s Dance sessions and give grants to other charities that are in line with what they want to achieve.
An incredible presenting team and live singer have already been announced and confirmed for the event including Flavia Cacace-Mistry who is known for being a Pro and Champion on BBC Strictly Come Dancing, a former Strictly Pro and It Takes Two Panellist Ian Waite, along with Shane Nolan and live singer Passmore.
To find out more or to support Will Norris on his journey visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/willthedancingteachernorris