Ian dusts off his dancing shoes

Ian dusts off his dancing shoes

When the Hull Daily Mail printed a story appealing for men to come forward for a local charity’s answer to Strictly Come Dancing, Pickering and Ferens Homes resident Ian Jackson didn’t give the opportunity a second thought.

Dove House Hospice’s Strictly Learn To Dance competition has seen ten couples take to the dance floor to raise money for the charity, which is based in Chamberlain Road, east Hull, and cares for people with life- limiting illnesses.

Mr Jackson, aged 69, is a resident at Pickering and Ferens Homes’ The Broadway development, in Holderness Road, east Hull, and he has really taken his fundraising efforts to heart.

He has teamed up with dance partner Linda Wilson, to compete against nine other couples in a bid to win the competition and raise money for the hospice, which does not charge for any of its services.

Training for Strictly Learn to Dance – which is being supported by Nuffield Health in Kingston Park, Hull city centre, and Batten-Bettison and Cooper School Of Dance – started in January and will last for nine weeks. All the hard work will culminate in a finale show at the Hull City Hall, in Queen Victoria Square, Hull city centre, on March 22 at 7.15pm.

The dancers will go before a panel of three judges who will decide which couple should be crowned the Fred and Ginger of Hull.

The rigorous training sessions take place for two hours each week, so Mr Jackson has made quite a commitment to the initiative. Indeed, he already commits much of his time to Pickering and Ferens Homes’ residents committees and forums as well.

Part of Mr Jackson’s commitment to Dove House Hospice includes selling 15 tickets to the finale to his family and friends, any tickets left over will be opened up to the general public.

“Dove House Hospice is such a worthwhile cause,” said Mr Jackson. “When I saw the article in the Mail I felt inspired to get involved and I really haven’t looked back since.

“I haven’t danced before in my life, well not to this extent anyway, and now my dance partner and I are practising the Quick Step and the Rumba in time for the finale event in the hope that we raise lots of money and have a good time in the process.”

Anyone from Hull and the East Riding can be referred to Dove House Hospice for specialist care, which is given through a day therapy unit, as well as the in-patient unit with 20 beds, social work teams, and an education department.

The service survives mainly on voluntary funding from businesses and communities and more than £4.7 million is required every year to maintain and develop its special care services.

Amanda Ashburner, fundraising coordinator at Dove House Hospice, said: “After 10 weeks of gruelling training, anticipation and nerves, the grand finale is an evening of dancing, bright lights and lots of dazzling costumes. Our contestants have dedicated so much time and effort in these leading weeks, the finale will be an evening they will be proud to perform at. In previous years the support of friends and family has been phenomenal from ticket sales to cheering the loudest on the evening. Along with the dance competition, we also have dance acts and live music to really create a great evening of entertainment.”

Tickets are on sale now, they are available online at www.dovehouse.org.uk or at Dove House Hospice reception. Tickets cost £10 and all profits raised contribute directly to the running costs of the hospice.

If you would like to sponsor Mr Jackson, please call Pickering and Ferens Homes on (01482) 223783.