Charity chief is putting final touches to big Strictly Northampton performance

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CHIEF executive of Northamptonshire Community Foundation Victoria Miles will partner reigning champion Nick Osborne in the Chronicle & Echo’s Strictly Come Dancing contest.

The 45-year-old, who lives in Long Buckby, signed up for Strictly Northampton to replace motorcycle racer Maria Costello, who had to pull out of the competition to undergo surgery on an old collarbone injury.

After originally training as an actress, Victoria has been involved in musical theatre and has tap danced from a young age, but has never danced Latin or ballroom before.

She said: “It’s great . . . I’m loving it. I have no regrets about signing up. I’m apprehensive but really excited about the show. It’s such a great idea and everyone’s obviously really up for it.

“Nick and I have gelled and are dancing well together. He’s really patient because I’ve really had to work hard on the waltz because I came in a bit later than the others so I had a bit of catching up to do. I’m OK at the jive – I picked that up quite quickly – but the waltz is more stylised and difficult.

“I’m not overly competitive but I would love to get into the final. We’ve worked really hard.

“I would like to think we offer a bit of style but also some fun in our freestyle. It’s fast and fun.

“But essentially we just want to have a good time and raise lots of money.”

Victoria will step onto the dance floor with reigning Strictly Northampton champion Nick Osborne, who won the competition last year with former Olympic trampolinist Jaime Moore.

Nick lives in Banbury with his wife Mel, who is also taking part in the competition, partnering survival expert John Sullivan. Both have been dancing for 18 months after taking part in Strictly Banbury in 2010 as “celebrity” contestants.

Victoria said: “Knowing Nick won last year is a good thing but also comes with a bit of pressure. I don’t want to let him down.

“He’s a really good guy and such a good dancer. When I watch him dance with other people I notice his grace on the floor.”

Nick said: “It’s great to be back in Strictly Northampton and I’m having fun.

“Victoria is brilliant. She’s a lovely lady and we get on well. We’ve not had as much practice as everyone but I think she’s a bit of a natural so we should be fine.

“We’re just going out to enjoy ourselves and entertain people. That’s what the event’s about – entertaining people so they will give us lots of money for the charity.”

Victoria and Nick will be supported in the show by Victoria’s family and friends from work, as well as neighbours from her village.

Strictly Northampton – run by the Chron, Step by Step Dance School, BBC Radio Northampton and Image magazine, and sponsored by Barclaycard – takes place at Royal & Derngate next Saturday, November 26.

Eighteen couples will perform a waltz, jive and freestyle dance in front of judges including Strictly Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna to raise cash for the Chron’s and Macmillan Cancer Support’s £1.55 million appeal for a new cancer unit at Northampton General Hospital.