Poignant win for couple in Bolton Hospice’s Strictly Learn to Dance competition

Tony Patten and Frieda Armstrong go through their steps

Tony Patten and Frieda Armstrong with their quickstep trophy

First published in News
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The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

WINNING the quickstep award at Bolton Hospice’s Strictly Learn to Dance proved to be a poignant moment for Tony Patten and Frieda Armstrong.

Both have special reasons to give something back to the hospice after their partners were cared for at the centre.

Mr Patten, aged 76, lost his wife Jane just 12 months ago after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 — he was given the honour of presenting the award for the quickstep competition at last year’s event, the same prize that he and Frieda went on to win this time around.

He said: “The fact that we actually won the quickstep award which I presented in Jane’s memory was extremely poignant for me.

“It brought back a lot of memories because Jane and I used to dance together — this has been brilliant because it has enabled me to do something for her.

“I have actually danced a bit before but Frieda hadn’t and she did brilliantly well — I would never have known this was her first time at dancing.”

Mrs Armstrong, aged 68, of Sundridge Close, Bolton, lost her husband John in 2007, who also spent his final days at the hospice.

She said: “The care that John received was unrivalled and exceptional and it is that reason that I signed up for the competition.”

She has been a volunteer at the Bolton Hospice shop in Horwich for the past six years and said she was extremely grateful to everyone who helped her to raise nearly £600 as she learned to dance.

She also praised her dance partner, adding: “He encouraged me to be confident and positive from the week we met and on the night he was the perfect gentleman.”

The couple’s journey to glory saw them beat three other couples in the first round of quickstep dancing, before achieving the top scores from the judges in the final, in front of 650 people at the Whites Hotel at the Reebok Stadium.

Mr Patten, who lives in Egerton, said: “It is just starting to sink in that we won. After the show I was very tired, both physically and emotionally but I did think we had a chance of winning the quickstep beforehand.”

Mrs Armstrong added: “Winning the trophy left me on a high and I cannot wait to see the DVD of the event so we can capture that euphoric moment once again.”

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