Lucy Blake and Darragh’s excellent adventure comes to a thrilling climax at Waterford’s dance spectacular…

Lucy and Darragh dancing
After weeks and weeks of hard training and worn out dance shoes, Darragh and Lucy enter the competition Strictly Let’s Dance. The night was a blur of great music and an even better atmosphere as they won the trophy for most improved dance couple.

Well, the big day had arrived, after 8 weeks of intensive dance training Darragh and I were ready.  The Strictly Let’s Dance Waterford in aid of The Solas Centre, South-East Cancer Foundation, was finally here. We had our routines practiced to perfection, our costumes bought and altered, our props sorted and the hair and make-up professionally done (well for me, not Darragh obviously!)

The lights went up, the music began and we made our grand entrance, the atmosphere in the hall was electric, the cheers and shouts from family and friends gave us a real boost! There were approximately 700 people in the audience that night, which was fantastic.

Darragh is a huge sports fan, so for our entrance routine we wore hurling jerseys, Darragh in Waterford colours and myself in Galway colours (borrowed from my husband Paul), Waterford had just beaten Galway in the league quarter finals that very afternoon so Darragh was pretending to beat me with a giant inflatable hammer, which went down very well with our Waterford audience!

The opening dance was great fun and really got the crowd going, we all danced to ‘I’m Sexy & I know it’ the audience got a great kick out of it with us all shaking our stuff and wiggling our backsides around!

Our own individual dance was to “You ain’t never had a friend like me” from Aladdin, for which we were dressed as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Our routine went really well, the audience and the judges loved it. We got very positive feedback from the judges and scored 9-9-10, so we were over the moon with that and thrilled that all our hard work had paid off. We then performed in our group dance to Glenn Miller “In The Mood” which we really enjoyed too, although there was a slight blip as the music started before we were all on stage, but that didn’t phase Darragh one bit, like a true professional he just took my hand and kept on dancing.

The night went by in a blur of dancing, music, spotlights, costume changes and fun and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t win unfortunately, but we were awarded with the trophy for The Most Improved Couple which we were delighted with.  The winning couple were brilliant; they were Sean Connolly and Ciara Grant who performed a fantastic high energy country routine.

We have really enjoyed the experience of Strictly Let’s Dance, hosted by Vesper Events and I have to say that I feel very lucky to have been partnered with Darragh; he is an absolute gentleman, a lovely person who is kind, genuine, and generous, he has a great sense of humour and is always the life and soul of the group. It goes without saying that he is a fantastic dancer and I am delighted that I got to dance with such an amazing partner. He said he found it tiring at times but that didn’t stop him giving it his all and keeping up with the rigorous training schedule and complicated steps. I will miss training with Darragh as I feel we have become great friends over the past few weeks and I know that we will definitely stay in contact, as we will with many of the new friends that we have made during Strictly. In fact we’re meeting up with all the dancers for a meal this Saturday night. We had great support from Darragh’s family who helped us out with props, costumes, fundraising and also the use of their sitting room for dance practice!

Overall participating in Strictly was a great and unforgettable experience and we are delighted to say that the event has raised over €62,000 for The Solas Centre, a fantastic facility open to all cancer patients and their families free of charge in the South-East. Many of the Solas staff and volunteers gave up not only their whole weekend, but many days and nights previously preparing for and working towards the event and their support was greatly appreciated by us and all the dancers.

The Solas Centre is the finest cancer support building in the country and the people of the South East can be proud in the knowledge that this is due to their support and generosity. Without them, the Solas Centre would not be here.

We aim to provide the best possible cancer support services to the people of the South East of Ireland. With the counselling, relaxation therapies and group support services on offer at the Solas Centre we endeavour to provide cancer patients, their families and carers with a safe place; a place to talk things over, to relax and express emotions.