Giovanni Pernice from the top-rating BBC Television series Strictly Come Dancing wowed fans when he took to the dancefloor at Glasgow Hilton with dance partner Luba Mushtuk to help raise money for The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.
The special guests at this year’s award-winning (A Little Less) Strictly Come Dancing event, sponsored by the Malcolm group, Giovanni said they loved performing for Scottish audiences because they’re so loud.
“We’re so excited to be here because it is such a great cause. This event raises money for patients and families who need the support of the hospice and we’re delighted to do what we can to help,” he said.
“We’ve been to Glasgow before with the Strictly Live tour and love the city, the crowds are absolutely fantastic.”
The couple wowed the sell-out audience, dancing the Argentinian tango, rhumba and jive.
It was a fabulous night of glitter and glamour, hosted by broadcasters Bryan Burnett and Rhona MacLeod, that saw six couples made up of hospice supporters and professional dancers compete for the glitterball trophy, which was won by Ian Johnstone and Tracy Donald.
“It was completely overwhelming to win, I really feel I’ve done everyone proud,” said Ian, who works for long-time hospice supporter AG Barr and danced a Charleston that was hailed by the judges as an energetic and exciting performance.
“More than 80 people came along to support me and I raised more than £8000 for the hospice. I loved doing the performance!”
Among the judges were Giovanni and Luba, along with BBC Scotland presenter Kaye Adams and John Comrie, the head judge and the chairman of the British Association of Professional Teachers of Dancing of Scotland, all marking each couple and giving feedback on style and technical ability.
The sparkling display of ballroom routines that has become a hot ticket on the fundraising calendar of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice took place on Saturday, 11 March and raised £60,000. That comes after winning cause-related event of the year at the Drum Scottish Event Awards for 2016.
This year’s event was beamed out live on Facebook and viewed by more than 5500 hospice fans around the world.
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Sarah Kelso, who works for Scottish Enterprise, was runner up and said she has had many friends and relatives who have relied on the hospice’s services and was delighted to do something in return.
“Training was great fun, on the day we were all a bit nervous but the important thing was to remember why we were all doing this, it really made the whole experience worthwhile,” she said.
Neil Burke of the Malcolm Group was dancing to raise money for the hospice after close members of his family received palliative care.
“My wife's mum and my mum died within eight weeks of each other 12 years ago, and my wife's dad passed away 10 years before that. All of them had been diagnosed with terminal conditions and needed assistance and hospice care in their last months,” he said.
“The nurses from The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice were an invaluable support. Having visited both family and friends in hospice care, the ability to have space for the families to visit and spend quality time with their loved ones, is an incredible comfort to both the patient and their family and friends.”
Robin Hagman of Cinch Ideas said he was fundraising for the hospice as it was a charity that did wonderful work.
“The hospice offers great services to the people of Glasgow and I am proud to support it.
Learning to dance has been a great experience and I have loved the journey,” he said.
Claire McCracken on Lindsays Solicitors said the hospice provides a fantastic service to patients and families at a very difficult time in their lives.
“I wanted to support the fundraising for the new hospice in Bellahouston Park, to provide patients and their families with first-class, state-of-the-art facilities,” she said.
“Training has been a great experience, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.”
Colin Forbes is from Balfour Beatty, the contractor building the new hospice, but he said he wanted to do more to help with fundraising.
“This was a chance to make a real contribution towards the new hospice and the care and support that will be provided for so many people,” he said.
The healthcare facility provides free palliative care and is moving to a new purpose-built site in Bellahouston Park next year, on land gifted by Glasgow City Council.
About 1100 patients are cared for by the hospice each year and it provides support for about 400 patients and family members at any one time.
It costs £5million to provide free care to the people of Glasgow and only £1.9m of that comes from the NHS, the rest is fundraised at events like (A Little Less) Strictly Come Dancing.
The total of the £21million Brick by Brick Appeal to build a new home for Glasgow’s Hospice has now reached £19.6m. To donate £5, text BRICK to 70660 or make a donation online at www.ppwh.org.uk/donate.