Two determined sisters are taking on the challenge of a lifetime in an effort to smash a fundraising target of £100,000 for The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.
Clare Cannon (51) from Toryglen and Tracy Docherty (49) from Strathaven have taken the plunge and signed up to the hospice’s annual glittering dance competition (A Little Less) Strictly Come Dancing. Based on the hit BBC show and now in its 12th year, the event involves members of the public and business community partnering with professional dance partners for an intensive three-month training regime before taking part in the highly competitive dance competition in front of judges and their families and friends. Each contestant fundraises for the hospice as part of their entry to the competition.
The family are originally from Govanhill and Clare currently works for The Glasgow School of Art while Tracy formerly worked at The Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Glasgow. The sisters have been raising money for the hospice since their mother, Tess, received care at the end of 2009. Always fit and never unwell, it was a shock when Tess was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2009. She was admitted to the hospice three months later and spent her last two weeks being cared for at Carlton Place.
Clare says: “My mum, Tess, was an amazing woman, she was a mother, a grandmother and a wonderful friend.
“The staff were angels who couldn't do enough for mum and the rest of the family. It was my mum's wish that we give something back to the hospice, but it is also our way of saying thank you for the help and care we received. It helped with the grieving process, keeping mum’s memory alive by talking and thinking about her while we planned events.”
Clare and her family set up a Tribute Fund to raise money in memory of their mum. In May 2010 the family started fundraising for the hospice, first with a 10K with friends, then a football memorial game and a tribute dance, The Tess Smyth Tribute Dance followed.
“The dance has been so successful, we now have one every year, attended by more than 200 friends, family and supporters,” says Clare. Twelve years on and the family have so far raised £83,000 for the hospice in their mum’s name.
“But we wanted to do something extra special and while neither Tracy nor myself are amazing dancers, we are very determined to do all we can to raise as much money for the hospice.
“The dance training is exhausting, trying to remember all the dance moves but also keeping up with the physical exertion. But my partner, Marcus Littlejohn, is a fantastic coach and very patient as is Tracy’s partner, Graeme Fox.
“And, even though we are sisters, Tracy and I will be putting our best dance moves into action on the night against each other. There’s no harm in some friendly sibling competition.”
Rhona Baillie, Chief Executive of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice said: “The very best of luck to Clare and Tracy. They have been an exceptional support to the hospice over the past 12 years. They have become part of our hospice family and continue to support us in so many ways. They are so dedicated to the hospice and to fulfilling their mum’s wishes. Their fundraising has gone directly to helping support care at the hospice for other patients. In fact, one of the en-suite patient bedrooms in our newly built hospice is named after their mum.
“I am looking forward to seeing their performances at our event on 12 March. Having seen their dancing prowess at The Tess Smyth Tribute Dance, I am sure they will impress the judges and the audience.”
You can help Clare and Tracy reach their fundraising target by visiting their JustGiving pages at
(A Little Less) Strictly Come Dancing is being held in The Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Saturday 12 March. Hosted by Carol Smillie and Bryan Burnett, it will also have BBC Strictly Pro Dancer guests along on the night. Find out more by visiting the hospice website www.ppwh.org.uk under events