THE contestants in the Strictly Northampton dance competition had the opportunity to show off their moves in front of an audience for the first time, thanks to event sponsors Barclaycard.
The firm invited the Strictly Northampton participants and their semi-professional dance partners to its Brackmills headquarters in Northampton yesterday for the chance to get in some extra practice, while raising money for the event’s official charity Macmillan Cancer Support.
Barclaycard has sponsored Strictly Northampton – which this year will take place at Royal & Derngate on Saturday, November 26 – for the past two years, and last year its support helped raise more than £10,000 for the charity and the Chron’s £1.55 million appeal to fund a new blood cancer treatment unit at Northampton General Hospital.
This year, with a bigger venue and 18 dancing couples, it is hoped the event will raise even more for the same fund.
The two Strictly Northampton contestants representing Barclaycard are employees 33-year-old Caroline Pugh, of Grange Park, Northampton, and 27-year-old David Hughes, of Abington.
Speaking at the dance showcase in the main square of the company’s offices yesterday Caroline said: “We’ve been doing some sample dances to promote the event and the charity, because Barclaycard is the sponsor and we want to make sure everyone knows what we are doing.
“We’ve had a brilliant reaction. So many people have been coming to watch us dance, and we’ve been getting donations too.”
David already has experience of dancing at the office, having performed to Michael Jackson’s Thriller as part of a charity dance-off last year that raised more than £1,000 for the RSPCA.
He said: “For me this is familiar territory, having done Thriller last year, so I’ve been getting flashbacks to that.
“It’s been really great to see all my fraud colleagues cheering me on, and other colleagues equally excited to see all the other competitors doing the show as well.”
David revealed he was so confident of top scores in the freestyle section of the show he had pledged to donate £50 to the charity if any dancing couple either matched or beat his score from the judges.
He and Caroline will now write a weekly blog for their Barclaycard colleagues about their Strictly experience.
Strictly Northampton is being run by the Chron, Step by Step Dance School, Image magazine and BBC Radio Northampton.
Eighteen couples will perform a waltz, jive and freestyle routine in front of judges including Strictly Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna for the chance to lift the winners’ trophy, and to raise cash for the Chron’s and Macmillan’s Northampton General Hospital appeal.