Christmas dance competition raises over £150,000 for Zoe’s Place

Published date: 22 December 2023
Christmas Coventry Fundraising news

Strictly Christmas, organised in aid of Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice Coventry, hosted three shows this December at the Royal Court Hotel in Keresley.

The events, organised by a core team of just 6 volunteers but supported by hundreds more, raised a FAB-U-LOUS £154,000 in aid of Zoe’s Place.

Across the weekend, which was sponsored by Genesis Employment Services and NSI Group, Strictly Christmas welcomed over 1,000 audience members, and 13 celebrity judges, including Harry Judd from McFly and BAFTA award-winning David Bradley, who played Mr Filch in the Harry Potter movie series. The judging line up also included former pro dancers from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing including Vincent Simone, Flavia Cacace-Mistry, Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff.

After just 8-weeks learning to dance, 23 contestants, supported by their experienced dance partners, battled it out to lift the Winner’s Trophy at the end of each show. Taught by professional dance teachers and choreographers, Jackie Fallon of Your Time to Dance and Gabriel Gospodin of TopDance, the contestants performed a Quickstep and a Jive in front of an excited audience.

Over the 8 weeks, contestants were challenged to fundraise in a variety of ways – with many of them taking on the challenge to organise fundraising events, cake sales, raffles, sweepstakes and blackout cards. A Special Recognition Award was presented to Emily Leach, owner of FiT365, who raised the highest individual amount at just over £11,500. Emily organised a 24-hour fitness event with everyone taking part sponsoring and donating for this great cause.

Since starting in 2017, adding this year’s total to previous years means that Strictly Christmas has now raised over £640,000 for Zoe’s Place Coventry.

There was also special recognition and thanks for Strictly Christmas’ Show Director, James Sanders, who has been the driving force behind the show since 2017. Nursing staff, families and children from Zoe’s Place all sent in video messages to thank James for his commitment and passion to raise vital funds for Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.

James Sanders, Show Director, said “We are all absolutely blown away by the amount everyone has managed to raise this year to support the vital work of Zoe’s Place. Every year the show gets bigger and bigger and this year we had to add a matinee performance on Saturday afternoon to cope with demand for tickets.”

“It was incredibly kind of everyone to recognise my contribution this year, however Strictly Christmas simply couldn’t happen without the hundreds of people who volunteer their time and effort each year to help us put the show on. My thanks goes to the Organising Team and to each and every person who has supported us this year.”

Ian Carr, Head of Fundraising at Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice Coventry, said “I am running out of words to describe just how grateful we are at Zoe’s Place Coventry to everyone involved in Strictly Christmas. Every year the participants seem to go above and beyond to raise these incredible amounts for us and this year they’ve gone further than ever before. The funds they raise mean we are able to provide the palliative, end of life and respite care to children with life-limiting conditions and their families. It truly changes lives. The show is so slick and incredibly well produced and the dances and performances are incredible. We want to thank everyone involved for yet again producing, in my opinion, the very best fundraising event in the region.”

Applications for Strictly Christmas 2024 will open in Spring 2024 and you can find out more about how you can get involved by searching ‘Strictly Christmas’ on Facebook or head to the Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice website at https://www.zoes-place.org.uk

Note: Strictly Christmas is not affiliated with, endorsed by or associated with in any way, BBC Strictly Come Dancing. It is an independently organised, charity event & show based in Coventry which raises funds for Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice Coventry.

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