‘Strictly’ Leaderboard and Meet the Couples!
Dan & Christine
Dan Crockford, 37 and Christine Stuart, 31 are both civil servants and used to work with each other in the same department but went their separate ways…until now! The pair decided to sign up to our ‘Strictly’ challenge for different reasons but both are excited to impress on the night! Dan, a self-proclaimed ‘good’ dad dancer, was particularly keen to support the charity as he has family friends whose children have speech difficulties. Christine on the other hand, has previously danced Jazz, Ballet and even Swing, but is particularly looking forward to shocking her friends and family who will be seeing her in sequins and make-up for the first time! The pair have created their own fantastic social media hashtag to help them raise as much money as possible and they will be gracing us with the classic Slow Waltz. Let’s get them trending #danstine!
Donate to their JustGiving Page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamdanstine
Kate & Nick
Meet our lovely, soon to be married, real life couple, Nick Fischer & Kate Potts. Nick, 31 and Kate 29 are both lawyers. Nick works in intellectual property for Simmons and Simmons and Kate in employment law for GQ|Littler. As soon as this opportunity came up, they saw it as the perfect way to get ready for their first dance which will be next July in Devon. Of course the Charity is also very close to their hearts as Nick is one of our amazing Stambassadors too! He has said that, he has “no dance experience whatsoever” whereas his fiancé Kate, has some previous dance experience since she has had ballet lessons in the past but is completely new to ballroom. Nick & Kate will be lighting up the dancefloor with the Tango! Support one of our very own Stambassadors on the second biggest night of his life…
Donate to Nick & Kate’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/strictlynickandkate
Andy & Gemma
Andy Samel and Gemma Clarke are not complete novices on the dancefloor. The pair have danced together before when they met at Brazilian dance classes. This is their first time attempting Ballroom which has a completely different feel and rhythm! Andy works in Property Maintenance and Gemma is a Speech Language Therapist at our very own Michael Palin Centre! They are old hands at raising money for Action for Stammering Children together as they have previously taken part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride, a very different fundraiser but all for a great cause! Gemma is a big Strictly fan and ranks Flavia as her favourite professional dancer. Andy’s claim to fame is that he went to school with S Club 7 singer and Strictly star Rachel Stevens. Andy & Gemma will be dancing the Slow Waltz. Help them beat their previous fundraising goal by checking out their JustGiving page!
Donate to Andy & Gemma’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gemmaandy
Richard & Sandhya
Richard Plumb and Sandhya Sharma, both 34, work together at global management and technology company Capco. Richard is an Executive Director and Sandhya is HR Business Partner. Richard is part of our Stambassador program, which is a network of professionals who stammer, he lives in Cambridge while Sandhya lives in Wimbledon. It was over a glass (or two) of wine that Richard managed to persuade Sandhya to get on her dancing shoes to take part in the ‘Strictly’ challenge and fundraise for the Charity – definitely a better deal than having to pay the tab! However, Sandhya isn’t a complete novice as she’s done a little ballet, tap and even Indian dancing as a child but has never attempted ballroom…until tonight! Richard and Sandhya will be dazzling us by dancing the Cha Cha Cha!
Donate to Richard & Sandhya’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richandsandhyadostrictly
Dan & Poppy
Dan and Poppy are our wild card couple this evening…this is because they didn’t know each other before accepting to take part in the challenge! Dan, 23 is doing a master’s degree in developmental neuroscience at UCL. Poppy, 27 is a public policy professional who has previously worked for Shelter and is now in the London Mayors Office at City Hall. Dan was really keen to take part since he has been personally helped so much by speech therapy, having grown up with a statter as a child. He knows first-hand how important it is to support the great work done by the Charity and for that reason alone wants to raise as much money as possible to support it! On his performance tonight, he is certainly nervous about dancing on stage, as he has next to no dancing experience – “as anyone who’s been out with me can confirm”. Poppy has said that her friends are very excited to see her ballroom dancing skills on show and will be out in force tonight. The couple will be competing for your votes with their take on the Cha Cha Cha!
Donate to Dan & Poppy’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danpoppystrictly
Matt & Amanda
Husband and wife team, Matt and Amanda Bryan were very excited to be part of our ‘Strictly’ challenge. Matt is a police officer with the Met Police Service and Amanda is a civil servant at HMRC, so she’s been doing an amazing job fitting in dance lessons while calmly trying to prepare the country for Brexit! They live in Crystal Palace with their two teenage sons and their French Poodle called Ripley. One of their children had a stammer as a child, like up to 8% of children, and like many children his stammer went away naturally. Matt has never danced before, but Amanda danced as a child with her grandfather. She specifically remembers entering competitions at the Cats Whiskers in Streatham as a child. Now she’s more than ready to get back on the dancefloor and Matt is hoping for a big Len Goodman “Seveeern!!!” on the night. The couple will be Tango-ing their way to victory!
Donate to Matt & Amanda’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Amanda-Bryan2
Ben & Dean
Ben and Dean are our proud Yorkshire couple, having been training over the last couple of months in Harrogate! Ben Bolton-Grant, 34, is a Speech and Language Therapist and his husband Dean Grant, 44, is a horticulturalist. Action for Stammering Children is very close to their hearts owing to the nature of Ben’s work. He’s constantly working with his clients to help them push themselves, to step out of their comfort zone and try something that is scary. Taking part in this challenge is his chance to follow his own advice and do something that’s difficult, but totally worth it! When you do something scary it’s important to get the right people to help you, which is why it’s even better that Dean agreed to dance too. They are both so excited to take part in the Strictly Challenge and have been loving learning to dance and can’t wait for the big night! Ben and Dean will be taking on the Jive tonight!
Donate to Ben & Dean’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/BenandDeanBG
Alex & Alex
Alex Leckie, is an events manager working for the leading office refurbishment company, Overbury and Alex Kolodziejski is an operations manager for Dock and Bay, a towel distribution company featured on Dragon’s Den! The pair are both 31 and met when they were just 5 years old, when they first started going to Polish dance lessons. They were part of the Polish folk dance group Karolinka. However, they haven’t danced together for a few years, so they are enjoying getting back on the dancefloor together! In fact Alex Leckie has said about tonight’s performance that, she’s a big Strictly fan and really loved watching Alicia Dixon and Ola take part. They are challenging themselves as they have voted to go for a Latin-style dance…watch them tantalize us tonight with their best Tango steps!
Donate to Alex & Alex’s JustGiving page here (they have teamed up with Alice & Joe): https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Alice-Godyn
Alice & Joe
Alice, 26, is an accountant and Joe, 34, is a product manager both working in London. Real life couple Alice and Joe, met through their joint love of dancing when they both attended a polish folk dance ensemble and now they have been folk dancing for most of their lives! Before signing up for the event neither Alice nor Joe had watched Strictly but have since watched reruns on loop as inspiration! They have found training more intense than they expected, especially since they have been learning a brand new style of dance over the last 8 weeks. The couple initially were not aware of the work done by the Charity, however since getting involved in the event have learnt loads about the amazing work that is done. In order to raise as much money as possible, the couple have teamed up with their friends (and fellow competitors for the night) Alex & Alex and together they are hoping to raise over £1,000. Alice and Joe are hoping they can Jive their way to the top of the leader board tonight!
Donate to Alice & Joe’s JustGiving page here (they have teamed up with Alex & Alex): https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Alice-Godyn
Rhiannon & Loren
Rhiannon Evans Young, 28, runs a PR agency called Crest Communications which she founded three years ago while her dance partner Loren Joules King, 29, is an Economist working for Frontier Economics – a leading economic consultancy. They met at University and have been together for 8 and a half years, yet have never had the chance to dance together on stage! Rhiannon has said that “Being part of Strictly is literally my dream, but I’m unlikely to be a celebrity so this version is perfect”. Loren is not as much of a Strictly fan as Rhiannon but instead has said that “I’m a big fan of Ed Balls”. He is looking forward to discussing the finer points of neoclassical endogenous growth theory with former shadow chancellor Ed Balls in between dances! Rhiannon and Loren have been working extremely hard in rehearsals and all that hard work will be worth it as they hope to be crowned the Jive champions of the evening!
Donate to Rhiannon & Loren’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rhiannonandloren
Shiva & Jessel
Shiva, 40 has her own hair and beauty shop as well as teaching reiki and yoga. Jessell, also 40, is a singer and musician alongside working as a fishmonger. Both of them have a keen creative edge and couldn’t wait to get on the dancefloor to show off their moves. When Shiva found out about the opportunity to be a part of the competition, she lept at the chance. She has practiced belly dance, Persian classical dance, salsa and few Latino dances too! However, for tonight the couple thought it would be a challenge to dance the Cha Cha Cha especially as Shiva had never seen one performed! As Jessell is from Cuba, the pair have decided to put a Cuban twist on the dance. Shiva’s son used to attend to the Michael Palin Centre, so she is really happy to have the opportunity to help the charity through fundraising for this evening! So if you would like to donate on behalf of the families of children who have been through the Michael Palin Centre then vote for Shiva & Jessell, who will be wowing you with their take on the Cha Cha Cha!
Donate to Shiva & Jessel’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shiva-chacha