Glitz and glamour will descend on Weston’s Winter Gardens this weekend, when 12 couples will compete in Weston Hospicecare’s second Strictly Fun Dancing contest.

The prestigious fundraising night will be compered by TV star Martin Roberts and organisers are aiming to trump the total of £22,000 raised on behalf of the charity at last year’s inaugural event.

The dozen couples have completed 10 weeks of training with expert local tutors Burning Salsa, and will look to dazzle Saturday’s sell-out audience with their waltz and salsa routines.

Each will be looking to put their own signature spin on the moves they have been learning, and will look to impress a panel of judges which includes Radio Bristol breakfast presenter Emma Britton, and Demetris Demetriou, whose restaurant Demetris Weston has sponsored the event.

Host Martin – best known to TV viewers as the presenter of Homes Under The Hammer, as well as for a colourful stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here – says he is looking forward to being involved once again.

Martin Roberts

He said: “I have personal experience of the incredible work Weston Hospicecare does, and cannot praise all the team and all the support staff enough.

“They provide help and support at a time when it really is most needed. My own mother-in-law had help from them in the final stages of her life, so I know how valuable the advice and comfort they give is.

“This event is a great idea; people love dancing shows, and the location is perfect. It’s going to be loads of fun, and we will hopefully raise lots of money.”

The 12 couples competing for the coveted Strictly trophy come from all across Weston and North Somerset, with many of them getting involved because their own families have been touched by the work of the hospice.

Each pair has been hard at work securing sponsorship as well as learning their dance moves, and will be expecting to be well supported by family and friends on the night, too.

Strictly Fun Dancing is the latest event in a packed hospice calendar in 2019, which is all helping to celebrate the charity’s 30th anniversary.

And this year’s event has been sponsored by Demetris, with the well-loved Richmond Street restaurant also celebrating a landmark this year, with 2019 marking 40 years since it opened.

Demetris said: “What an incredible way to bring people together through music, a language everybody understands.

“We feel privileged to be asked to support this event, as there is no doubt many families have been supported by the hospice over the past 30 years.”

Demetris’ generous sponsorship means money raised on the night will be able to go directly to the hospice – and the charity’s event organiser Kelsey Dehaney said she is looking forward to what is sure to be a fabulous occasion.

Kelsey said: “I’ve been proud to see the development of our dancers at their 10 training sessions, can’t wait to see our Strictly stars shine on the night.

“We’re enormously grateful to everyone who has played a part in putting this event together, ranging from our dance tutors Ben and Ali from Burning Salsa, to our generous sponsor Demetris.

“I’m now enormously excited to see it all come together, and am looking forward to a memorable night on behalf of a charity which means so much to the people of Weston.”

Other upcoming events in the hospice’s anniversary year include the flagship Mendip Challenge event on 2 June, a wing-walking day on 21 June, the returning It’s A Hospice Knockout on 14 July, and a group Sahara Desert trek in November. Registration is now open for them all.

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