A boxing master battled his way to the final round to win this year’s Strictly Northampton.
John Daly, head coach of Far Cotton Amateur Boxing Club, was crowned the winner of the charity dance contest at the Royal & Derngate last night.
He said: “It’s been a brilliant night, I never expected to win. There’s some very good dancers in the group.”
John performed a cha cha, an American smooth waltz and a freestyle routine to the Rocky themetune, as a play on his boxing talents, with partner, professional dancer, Hannah Fowler.
He said: “Everybody loves Rocky. I thought I messed up my freestyle a bit though so I was surprised when I got through.”
John, who has never danced before, trained with the Step By Step dance school in Henry Street, Northampton, for only eight weeks before the contest.
He said: “It’s been hard work but looked great tonight and I’ve made some lovely friends along the way.”
The event raised almost £30,000 for the Chronicle & Echo and Macmillan Cancer Support’s charity appeal, taking the total to £1.45 million.
The campaign is to raise £1.55 million by the end of the year to help fund a new blood cancer unit at Northampton General Hospital.
John’s brother Kevin, aged 45, is suffering with cancer, and John said: “I wore his waistcoat on stage and I think it gave me some luck. He was here to watch me tonight and he thinks it’s brilliant that I’ve won.
“I know how much the cause means to people and I’m glad to have helped raise the money.”
Although a team of judges shared their opinion of the sixteen celebrity contestants’ dances on the night, the winner was decided by an audience text-vote.
Assistant Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police Force, Andy Frost, came second and owner of Fong Spa beauty, Yin Jeune, came third,
Those taking part included ITV Daybreak weather girl, Laura Tobin; Miss Northampton Nadina Knight; Northamptonshire Community Foundation fund development manager, Jessica Pilkington; manager of Outcast Hair Salon, Vicky Panting; owner of Fong Spa Beauty, Yin Jeune; leader of Northampton Borough Council, David Mackintosh; dog trainer, Graeme “The Dogfather” Hall; Assistant Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Andy Frost; founder of Far Cotton Amateur Boxing Club, John Daly; Old Northamptonians Rugby Club player, Edward St John Smythe; Chron reporter Ian Gallagher; Kyle Cherry, who is in the England under-17s badminton team; headteacher at Lings Primary School, Leigh Wolmarans; Barclaycard employee Gary McMahon; owner of The Works Fancy Dress shop, Patricia Coleman; and Royal & Derngate operations manager, Richard Clinton.