Helen’s getting geared up for January’s big dance journey

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Helen Kirby is among the latest recruits to join the line-up for Strictly Learn Dancing 2013, and is getting geared up to follow in the footsteps of celebs like Victoria Pendleton, Lisa Riley and Michael Vaughan when she begins her fundraising challenge in January.

She has a very special reason for wanting to support the work of the Northchurch-based Hospice Of St Francis, which is behind the annual charity challenge.

She said: “I took early retirement in 2007 as a manager from a high street bank when my partner of 20 years was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

”Sadly Ray passed away in April 2011 in the caring hands of the Hospice of St Francis. Since that time and after counselling at the hospice, I now work as a volunteer for two half days a week as my way of repaying them and helping others in raising money, which is so badly needed to keep it running.

“I have always loved dancing, but only had formal lessons in ballet as a child.

“More recently, I have taken up modern jive and have realised how much I have missed dancing in the past years.

“When the Strictly Learn Dancing event was being advertised at the hospice I thought: What a great way to learn to dance and raise money.

“ I have always been a great fan of the TV Strictly Come Dancing but never had the confidence to take up ballroom dancing.

“Now I have more confidence and a dance partner I have no excuse.

“So with my two left feet and Eddie’s basic knowledge we are entering this together. To raise money, I have organised a Polka Dot Rock charity dance with The Jets, a professional rock and roll band which are guaranteed to get everyone up dancing.

“The event will be at the Polish Club in Amersham on February 1 next year, and all the full proceeds of which are going to the hospice.”

It’s not too late for people to enter Strictly 2012.

All participants will be encouraged to invite their friends and family to the Grand Finalé and to raise a minimum of £400 sponsorship to support the vital work of the hospice.

Participants need to be available to take part in regular training sessions over a six week period on Sunday evenings starting on Sunday, January 16, and running up to the grand final on Saturday, February 23.

If you’d like more information on how to get involved, call the fundraising team on 01442 869555 or email fundraising@stfrancis.org.uk.

The closing date for applications is Friday, December 14..