BOLTON folk put on their dancing shoes for the town’s ever-popular Bolton Hospice Strictly Learn to Dance event.

In front of a crowd of 600 people, 11 couples hit the dancefloor at the Premier Suite, Bolton Whites Hotel, in a battle to be awarded the top glittering trophy.

The Saturday night event was hosted by Andrew Dickson from Bolton FM, in aid of the hospice, and organisers are hoping to raise in excess of £50,000.

Dancers began the night with a waltz before then strutting their stuff to a range of dances - salsa, cha cha, Argentine tango and rock and roll.

The champions on the night were Claire James, director of Greenwood James Estate and Letting Agents and her dance partner, Greg Gardner-Boyes, solicitor at KBL Solicitors, who danced the Argentine tango in the final.

Claire said: ““I cannot express how delighted I am to have been part of such an amazing experience and for a wonderful charity.

“I have received an amazing amount of support from friends, work colleagues, family – especially my mum Linda – and of course the teachers at A Touch Of Class, in particular Teresa, who gave up so much of their free time to teach and encourage us in the specialist dance.

“Learning the Argentine tango was most definitely a challenge as was the quick step. Lots of sore toes, aching legs and indeed I was dropped a few times.

“However, I was lucky enough to have Greg as my dance partner. Together we worked tirelessly to perfect our dance routines.

“So much so, on the night, the hard work paid off, and we won three categories, the Argentine tango, quick step and overall champions.

“Fabulous memories I will cherish forever.”

Judge Andy Morgan, who came second with his dance partner Melanie Disley at the town's first Strictly event in 2013, said the crowds were not as big this year due to coronavirus restrictions, but the event was still ‘electric’.

He said: “The atmosphere was amazing. The event made for a fantastic night. When you have been a contestant, you appreciate what they have gone through and I think it’s a brilliant event for contestants as well as their family and friends.”

Bolton Hospice are already recruiting for couples to take part in Strictly Learn to Dance 2022.

Each couple will receive 12 lessons from the team of professionals at A Touch of Class Dance Studios. Email for more details.