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Journalist steps up to challenge to raise £1,000

A news editor on a weekly newspaper waltzed her way to raising more than £1,000 for charity when she took part in a ballroom dance competition.

Victoria West from the Hemel Hempstead Gazette took part in the Hospice of St Francis’ Strictly Learn to Dance competition with dance partner Michael Carillo

A total of 18 couples took part in the Strictly Come Dancing inspired event in front of an audience of 500, raising a total of £20,000.

 Taking the trophy on the night was Paul Richardson, a father of three who lost his wife to cancer, and dance partner 21-year-old Aintzane Rebollo.

Victoria, who did ballet, tap and modern dance as a child, said: “We may not have got into the top three but the judges did salute us for the most entertaining dance of night for our jive effort, which had the whole audience in fits of laughter.

“After a week of worrying about my footwork by day and dreaming at night of dancing disasters that could play out on stage, by the time Saturday rolled around I was ready to get the job done.

“Just before taking to the stage to perform the jive, dance partner Michael turned to me and said: ‘Let’s just do this’ – and we certainly did.

“Would I do it again? Possibly. Would Michael? Definitely. Despite all his grumbling in the run up to the big night he absolutely loved it, but that’s meant to be a secret between us.”

The hospice aims to bring peace, comfort and dignity to patients and families facing the crisis of serious illness.

Victoria gave weekly updates on her training and a video from the final was posted on the newspaper’s website.

Picture by Hawkeye Photography.