MARKETING MANAGER JULIE WINS STRICTLY!

Dazzling amateur dancers have raised more than £20,000 after taking part in a Strictly Come Prancing competition in aid of Banchory-based Forget Me Not Club dementia support.

The glamorous evening saw a total of 11 couples, who took part in dance lessons for several months, perform a choice of the Cuban-influenced cha-cha or the Spanish paso doble.

After a dance-off between the two finalists, Julie Goddard, marketing manager at Bancon Homes and her dance partner John I’Anson were crowned the winners for their fantastic performance of the cha-cha.

All proceeds from Saturday’s event (March 31) at Ardoe House Hotel will go to the Deeside charity, which provides vital support and activities for those living with dementia, their families and carers.

Around 250 guests enjoyed a drinks reception and dinner before watching the dancers and voting for their favourites.

The dancers were scored by a panel of judges made up of last year’s winner Martin Burgess, Emma Stewart from Deeside Dance Centre, volunteer Ross Cook and Janice Mair from Repsol Sinopec, which has nominated Forget Me Not Club as its chosen charity of the year.

Lesley Fletcher, development manager at Forget Me Not Club, said: “I am thrilled that we were able to raise more than £20,000 and would like to congratulate the winning couple, Julie Goddard and John I’Anson, who dazzled the judges and guests with their beautiful performance of the cha-cha.

“We are incredibly thankful to everyone who helped us to reach this amazing target. The money will support the ongoing running of Forget Me Not Club, such as extending the premises to allow us to help more people and ensure we can continue to make use of best practice and latest thinking.”

Strictly Come Prancing began eight years ago and has become a popular annual event for those who have a connection with the Forget Me Not resource centre in Banchory and have a family member or friend living with dementia and are passionate about raising awareness.

Lesley added: “We are very grateful to Peter Ferguson of Beautiful Events and Productions who organised the unforgettable evening and to all the dancers who dedicated much of their personal time to rehearsals – you all made it look easy on the dance floor!”

Winner Julie Goddard said: “The evening was fantastic and we’re overwhelmed that we won the dancing competition! The weeks of practise and support from Deeside Dance Centre has paid off and we’re thrilled to have been a part of raising money for an inspiring local charity which provides great support for those affected by dementia.”

Bancon Homes’ parent company Leys Group has also nominated Forget Me Not Club as its chosen charity of the year.

Founded in 1999, the Forget Me Not Club is staffed almost entirely by enthusiastic volunteers, who run activities ranging from Tai Chi, yoga, painting and crafts to games, discos, tea dances and walking football.

With the support of Bert McIntosh of McIntosh Plant Hire, it has also introduced the Active Forget Me Not Club at Knockburn Sports Loch, providing opportunities for people with dementia who had previously enjoyed outdoor activities such as walking and cycling.

Forget Me Not Club also advises and educates carers on the complexities of the disease, providing information and support to help clients stay in their own homes for longer.

The charity is based at Bennett House, a purpose-built facility in Banchory. For more information, call 01330 822655 or visit www.forgetmenotclub.co.uk