Hospice has a ball at Strictly final


St Elizabeth Hospice Does Strictly came to an end on Saturday with a fabulous final that featured a surprise performance by Santa Claus!

The final was well attended with the hospice day centre packed with patients, staff, volunteers, family and friends watching the highly anticipated final. 

The Mayor of Ipswich, Roger Fern, was also present, acting as one of the judges and handing the glitter ball trophy over to the winning couple.

The winning couple from every day during the week performed their winning dance, so the audience were treated to a Cha Cha, Jive, Charleston, Waltz and Salsa, as well as performances from the dance schools that taught the contestants through the week: The Lait School, Cowling Dance Academy, Ipswich School of Dance and DanceVibe.

The winners were Debbie Wright, the hospice’s patient services secretary, and Joanne Rodger, the hospice’s events and challenges fundraiser, who performed an almost flawless Charleston, scoring an impressive 47 out of 50! 

After the announcement that they had won, Debbie and Jo went on to perform their winning dance again and were joined by all the other contestants, much to the audience’s delight.  

But the biggest and best surprise of the afternoon was a special performance from Santa Claus! Hospice patient, Arthur Ryder, surprised the audience by taking to the floor to perform a special Charleston with the hospice’s volunteer co-ordinator, Tracy New. They weren’t officially scored, but when asked how what they would have given the dance, there was a resounding agreement of TENS shouted out by everyone present.

Kate Barber, St Elizabeth Hospice’s day services sister, who organised the Strictly week said: “We have had a fab-u-lous week, as Craig would say, and everyone from around the hospice – our patients, staff and volunteers, and their families and friends too – have thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.

“A huge thank you to everyone who took part, came along to watch, to the Mayor for being our special guest judge, and to all the dance schools who taught us the dances.”

St Elizabeth Hospice improves life for people living with a progressive illness such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure. The hospice day services encompasses symptom management, therapies, and doctor and nurse interventions to help enable patients to live their lives to the full.  

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