Friends’ hospice fundraiser is Strictly sensational

Helen Corner and Victoria Mansell performing their dance routine.
Helen Corner and Victoria Mansell performing their dance routine.
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Two best friends kicked, flicked and tapped their way to victory at a Strictly Come Dancing-inspired charity event.

Helen Corner and Victoria Mansell, from Chester-le-Street, transported the audience back to the roaring ‘20s with their Charleston at the first-ever Strictly St Cuthbert’s.

Staged at Rainton Meadows Arena, the event was organised by St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham City, and raised more than £10,000 for the charity.

Overall winner Helen and her brother, Daniel Lowden, have already raised more than £20,000 for St Cuthbert’s Hospice in memory of their mother, Wendy, who died there in 2014.

Helen said: “I can’t believe we won. I feel very overwhelmed. It was an amazing experience and I know my mam would be proud of me.”

Five couples answered the hospice’s call for contestants and Zazz Dance and Performing Arts Academy in Houghton and The Dudman Academy of Performing Arts in Newcastle provided free tuition.

And the recent Grand Final was a chance for the amateur dancers to showcase their routines, which ranged from a graceful waltz and two dramatic tangos, to an energetic jive and a nimble quickstep.

There were also performances from Zazz, Dudman Academy, Star Radio presenter Tim Lichfield and Darrien Wright, the winner of BBC One’s Strictly Dance Fever, who runs Dance Wright Studio in Darlington.

Sheela Joy, senior community and events fundraiser at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, added: “We are so proud of our dancers.

“They were all absolutely amazing and helped to make it an unforgettable night. We would like to thank everyone who supported Strictly St Cuthbert’s.”