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“Strictly” dance-mad water workers raise £50,000 for charity

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Wed 06 Jun 2018

“Strictly” dance-mad water workers raise £50,000 for charity

A CHARITY dance contest has become the hottest ticket in town for staff at Warrington-based water company  United Utilities – netting £50,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support’s regional fund.
The competition, inspired by the BBC’s hit “Strictly Come Dancing” series, partners workers with professional dancers for weeks of training before a glittering finale and is one of the most sought after events in the firm’s calendar.
Since starting in 2010, the total raised for various charities has topped £300,000.
This year 10 couples performed before an assembled audience of 400 at Southport’s Floral Hall.
In third place was response centre leader, Nicola Fletcher, from Fearnhead, Warrington, and her pro partner, Matt Tomaszewskiy, dancing the rumba.
Nicola, 28, overcame terrible nerves to perform.
She said: “I entered so my team could have a great night out and bring us together with the event and fundraising. Performing isn’t really my thing so this was probably the biggest challenge for me to have the confidence to perform a dance in front of over 400 people. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous than I was on the night, but it was an amazing experience, we all had a fabulous time and raised a lot of money for such an amazing charity so was definitely worth it,” she said.
The winner was Maria de Cabo Ramos from Liverpool and close behind was waterworks controller Liam Kiely, from Shaw, in Oldham.
The gala audience were also treated to a demonstration dance, combining a Viennese waltz and an English waltz, by Russ Houlden, United Utilities’ chief financial officer, with his pro partner, Kimberly Taylor.
Event organiser Lynne Friery said the competition gets better every year.
“It’s a fantastic event to be part of and everyone involved made it a night to remember, and to raise such an amazing amount for a great cause is brilliant. This year we increased the number of finalists because the
auditions were of such a high standard,” she said.
Money raised comes from the sponsorship gathered by the individual dancers, matched funding from United Utilities, donations and the sale of tickets for the gala finale.

Pictured below, Nicola with her professional dance partner and United Utilities chief operating officer Steve Fraser.