A staff member at Royal Preston Hospital has made it to the final of Strictly NHS, a charity ballroom dancing competition aimed at raising money to thank NHS staff for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cassandra Gleeson, who works as a Clinical Trials Support Officer within the Research team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, has been selected as one of 12 finalists out of 2000 entrants.
“I can’t believe it! I am so excited to be representing not only the Clinical Research team, but our also our entire Trust. This amazing competition will hopefully raise lots of money to give back to NHS staff. It has been such a difficult year, but I am thrilled to be ending it with this wonderful news. I can’t wait to start rehearsals, and I hope we get as many people as possible to watch the show on the night!”
Nichola Verstraelen, Clinical Team Lead for Research at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are thrilled that Cassie has made it to the finals in the fantastic event! These have been difficult times, so our research family are really looking forward to cheering her on in February. We will be whole-heartedly backing this event to support our NHS colleagues across the UK.”
With the support of the Trust’s medical photographer Catherine Lamoon, Cassandra was able to produce a fantastic video that helped to win her a place in the competition.
Catherine Lamoon, Senior Multimedia Developer and Medical Photographer at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“This is incredible news! Cassandra has done incredibly well and we are all extremely proud to call her our colleague. The competition is for a great cause and I know Cassandra will have the full backing of her team and wider colleagues here at the Trust – which are some pretty big numbers! I was delighted to be able to support Cassandra with her entry video, and we wish her all the very best of luck – I can’t wait to watch her performance!”
Cassandra will find out who her professional dance partner is in the new year, and once this announcement is made, the pair will start twice-weekly training ahead of the final on Friday 26th February.
Taking place at the Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens, Blackpool, the performance will include one large group number followed by the finalists’ 2.5 minute-long dances. When all 12 finalists have performed, the audience will vote for who they want to win, and the two highest scorers will complete in a dance off, after which the winner will be chosen by the judges.
Hosting the show is Ian Waite, former Strictly Come Dancing pro and current co-host of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.
The four judges are James Wilson, the show’s organiser and choreographer, and three current Strictly Come Dancing pros who will be announced in the coming days.
To find out more or to make a donation via JustGiving, visit: https://www.strictlynhs.co.uk/. Strictly NHS merchandise is also now available.
You can also get updates on the final by following @NHSStrictly on Twitter.