Blackpool: Grieving dad who used dance to help his depression got to 'live his Strictly dream' in Dance Floor Heroes for mental health charity
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Will Norris, 33, who lost his first child to a rare genetic illness in 2015, said it’s been an ‘emotional rollercoaster’ since he discovered he’d made the finals of the Strictly-style competition.
The assistant headteacher two-stepped away from the Pear Tree school in Kirkham, to train with professional dancer, Megan Reeves. They dazzled the judges with a cha-cha – having previously described himself as ‘flat-footed and slightly uncoordinated’.
Will, who was entered into the competition by his wife, Nichole, said: “My score of 38 out of 40. The judges commented on how technical the routine was [and were impressed that I] tried and pulled off an incredible lift.”
Will and Nichole lost their first child to lethal skeletal dysplasia, a rare genetic condition that developed in the womb that meant Baby James only survived for 30 minutes.
He said that dance played a big part in his recovery, and Nichole wanted him to go through the ‘once in a lifetime’ experience to help him get back to being himself.
He added: “It was such an incredible experience to be involved in. I am going to miss training so much with my professional dance partner and being around the group of people involved in the event so much, as it’s been incredible.”
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 final event took place at the Empress Ballroom on Feb 24, 2023, and the winner was chosen by public vote, using an app.
Will raised £900 for Tias 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.