The six homes in Colten Care’s New Forest cluster pulled out all the stops to stage their own version of Strictly Come Dancing for Children in Need.
The family-run company’s Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and Linden House in Lymington, Kingfishers in New Milton, Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst and Avon Reach in Mudeford, came together at Lymington Community Centre, to dance the jive, pasodoble, Charleston and original, disco routines.
Rehearsals for the competition had been led by Fiona Pritchard, Colten Care’s Music and Arts Partner, with input from Helen Hawkins, the performing arts teacher at Ringwood School and the help of some of the school’s sixth form pupils.
Fiona said: “This event exceeded all our expectations.
“The room looked stunning and after months of rehearsals and preparations the different home teams came together in a dazzling, display of fancy footwork that left the judges astounded.”
Dressed up to the nines and tripping the light fantastic was Hilda Snelling, a resident of Belmore Lodge.
Hilda said: “It was wonderful. I used to be a professional dancer along with my husband and being up there on the dance floor was just as thrilling as it has always been.”
The competition was compered by Belmore Lodge manager Janie Pearman, while the pre-recorded voice of Strictly announcer Alan Dedicoat added a note of authenticity to the fun.
BBC South Today also filmed the event before broadcasting it on the early evening news.
Janie said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who put in so much work to make this event possible.
“It was simply amazing to see the residents and staff from our homes dance with such obvious enjoyment.
“As well as supporting Children in Need, our aim was to create extra, social opportunities for our residents and enable them to enjoy both music and exercise.
“It showed true engagement across the generations from students, to our residents and all in between – a wonderful demonstration of community connections at its best.
“And how many people can say they have taken part in a Strictly Come Dancing competition – at any age?”
The judges went on to award the winners’ Glitterball trophy to Kingfishers, which also won the best costume award.