Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Strictly Cymru’ swings into action!

24 December 2018

Two women taking part in the first Strictly Cymru heatWales’ first inclusive dance competition kicked off again last Friday, with regional heats in Llangollen at the Oliver Jones Memorial Hall. 

Participants came from local Leonard Cheshire homes at Dolywern and Eithinog.

Strictly Cymru is hosted by pan disability charity Leonard Cheshire in partnership with Paradance UK and aims to improve health, wellbeing and access to active lifestyles for disabled people across Wales. 

Following the success of last year’s event, participants reported significant improvements in their well-being and confidence as a result of taking part. 

Almost half of the competitors took part last year, including three finalists. They were put through their paces with traditional ballroom dance the ‘American Smooth’.

Lauren, from wheelchair category winners’ 2018 and one half of a husband and wife team said:

‘I’m really proud and happy to be in the final once again and I will represent Dolywern and Leonard Cheshire to the best of my abilities.

‘I really look forward to learning a new dance with my husband Eddie in the final.’

Louise Bowen, lead instructor from Paradance UK, said:

‘It’s been an absolutely amazing experience working with everyone.

‘The teamwork has been incredible as has the interaction between Leonard Cheshire carers and the participants — they just seemed to know each other’s visual cues.

‘It didn’t matter if there might be limited verbal communication, it was inspiring to watch.

‘It was so difficult determining this heat’s winners, I’m really looking forward to the next heat in Anglesey on the 12 and 13 January!’

The regional heat was supported by members of the local community, including North Wales regional Assembly Member for the Welsh Conservatives Mark Isherwood AM who said:

“It’s great to be back a second year.

‘The success of this event is evidenced by the enthusiasm, happy faces and engagement of all the contestants with lots of sparkle and Christmas glitz, it’s just a shame they couldn’t all be winners.

‘Well done Leonard Cheshire for making this wonderful event happen.’

Media enquiries

For further information, interview requests and case studies, please contact Jonathan Sim on jonathan.sim@leonardcheshire.org or call 020 3242 0313.

Notes to editors:

  • For the inclusive category the winner was Elinor Edwards who danced with Thea Boyle. Elinor will be paired with a professional dancer in the final.
  • For the wheelchair category the winners were: 

    • Lauren O’Neill and Eddie Hickman from Dolywern, who are repeat finalists from last year and danced together once again
    • Hayley Williams (Dolywern resident) and Linda Knox (Eithinog resident), who were a new pairing although Hayley took part last year as a solo act 
    • Michael Williams and Andrew Docherty (Eithinog residents) a new pairing who were new to the competition
  • Each couple will dance together in the final on the 11 May 2019.

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