Solicitor Simon sparkles on the dance floor

It was strictly top marks for Basildon-based solicitor Simon Green when he quickstepped his way to success on the dance floor to raise more than £1,600 for St Luke’s Hospice.

Novice dancer Simon, who works for Birkett Long, was paired with professional dance teacher Layan Flitcroft from United Dance Studios in Stanford le Hope, for the Strictly Come Dancing-style charity contest.

Simon and Layan scored the highest mark of the night, 39 out of 40, for their Quickstep to finish in overall third place.

But the biggest winner of the night was the Basildon and Thurrock-based Hospice, which achieved a fundraising total of more than £22,000.

Simon, who works in Birkett Long’s commercial property team, had 12 weeks to perfect his two dances, and said: “I loved learning to dance and couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Layan.

“However, I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed the evening so much as got through it! I would much rather do a 12km mud run, which I have done previously for St Luke’s, and will do again to help support local people in need of the Hospice’s amazing specialist care.

“I am planning on keeping up with the dancing though, and will be doing so with Layan at United Dance Studios.”

Nine couples competed in front of an audience of some 350 people at Tilbury Community Association, with Simon Holder and Leighanne Phillips being crowned champions.

Leanne Kightly, Corporate and Donor Relations, St Luke’s Hospice said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to each of the dancers and their partners for giving up their time to take part in such a successful evening.

“Each couple trained very hard in the lead up to the evening and this was evident with their performances on the night. They each did a fantastic job and we wouldn’t have been able to raise such a tremendous amount without their support.”