First ever Strictly St Leonard
Fourteen couples danced up a storm in the first ever Strictly St Leonard’s final in Tadcaster on Saturday.
Posted Mar 13

First ever Strictly St Leonard's hailed success

Fourteen couples danced up a storm in the first ever Strictly St Leonard’s final in Tadcaster on Saturday 10th March.
The glittering final took place at the Riley Smith Hall in front of a sell-out crowd of around 350 people. The couples have been rehearsing for the past 6 weeks with thanks to tuition from the award-winning North Leeds Dance Academy. Contestants did one group dance followed by a Waltz and a Cha Cha Cha in their individual couples.
A judging panel made up of professional dancers Rachel Carpenter, Chris Robinson and head judge Darren Hodgson selected winners in three categories. 'Most Improved' went to Gerry and Paul Rook and the 'Top Fundraisers' award went to Liz Foote and James Sykes who alone have raised over £2500 for the Hospice. They then selected a final three to dance again before announcing the overall winners.
After a final dance-off, the overall winners were announced as Matthew Foote and Jannine Lawrance, who were the only couple who didn’t know each other before rehearsals began.
Jannine admits to being a huge fan of the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing so when she heard that Strictly St Leonard’s was coming to her hometown it was too good an opportunity to miss. She contacted the Hospice last year wanting to take part, though at the time she didn’t have a dance partner to enter with. With a bit of help from the Hospice staff and an appeal on local radio, Matthew was found and the dance partnership began.
Matthew, a 28 year old Operations Manager for Network Rail, said: “I was so shocked, and still am, but it’s such a nice feeling. As it turns out both myself and Jannine are quite competitive as we’re both sporty and used to wanting to win, but with this we just wanted to take part and get through the dances. It was so unexpected when we got through to the final three – we weren’t prepared to dance again at all! Then when they were announcing the winners I was all ready to clap, then they called out our names! It was such a shock but it’s the loveliest thing I’ve ever won. I’ve had a smile on my face ever since.”
Jannine, a 32 years old waitress from Tadcaster, said: “To be in the final 3 was mind blowing enough but to hear our names announced as the glitter ball winners was phenomenal. I think even now it's still sinking in. In my eyes though we are all winners and each couple should be very proud of themselves for what we all achieved. To be part of such a fantastic evening knowing that we all raised money for an amazing charity will be a memory I will cherish forever. A massive round of applause needs to go to the St Leonard’s team and volunteers for their outstanding hard work organising this brilliant event.”
Money is still being counted and sponsorship money is still coming in but it is expected that the event will have raised over £25,000 for St Leonard’s Hospice.
If you’re interested in potentially taking part in next year’s Strictly St Leonard’s, call the Hospice fundraising team on 01904 777 777 or email