MATT STEPS UP TO TAKE ON STRICTLY CHARITY CHALLENGE - KBS Corporate

MATT STEPS UP TO TAKE ON STRICTLY CHARITY CHALLENGE

Matt Sibley, KBS Corporate Associate Director, has literally dusted off his dancing shoes to raise money for Bolton Hospice.

Matt Sibley, KBS Corporate Associate Director, has literally dusted off his dancing shoes to revisit a previous fund-raising activity for Bolton Hospice.

The Strictly Come Dancing fan was inspired to take up a new hobby by watching the popular BBC show, culminating with a competitive appearance of his own – albeit not on national television – back in April 2016.

The annual Strictly Learn To Dance event in aid of Bolton Hospice was inaugurated in 2013 and features amateur dancing partners tripping the light fantastic in a function suite at the Macron Stadium.

Having personally raised £536 for the hospice the last time he took to the dance floor, Matt is hoping his latest quest to score a perfect 10 on March 15 2024 will generate a similar amount in donations, if not more, towards the event’s combined total.

It means learning some new moves because after concentrating on Salsa in addition to the Quickstep last time, he is now targeting the Cha-Cha along with dance partner Katy O’Brien.

From the end of November for 12 weeks, Matt and Katy are in training for the big night with free Monday evening lessons provided by A Touch of Class dance school in Little Lever, just outside Bolton, and they are also taking the opportunity to gain extra tuition on Sundays.

“The circumstances around how I came to do it are different this time,” explained Matt. “Bolton Hospice reached out to me and said ‘we’ve got a shortage of men’, which isn’t unusual, ‘so do you fancy doing it again?’ I only needed a small amount of convincing.

“It’s 12 weeks of lessons, which the school are giving for free, and that’s great. I actually dusted off my old dance shoes, put them on, we did a few practices and I thought ‘this seems pretty good’.”

In 2016, Matt was a complete beginner to dancing and his introduction was courtesy of KBS Corporate colleague Sonia Cottrell.

“I watched Strictly Come Dancing every year,” recalled Matt. “One time, I was talking to Sonia about the show and I mentioned off the cuff that I’d be interested in giving dancing a go to see what it’s like.

“Sonia told me she went to a dance school to learn Latin and ballroom herself, so I went with her one evening and they roped me into it. I got swept away with it in a sense – it was great.

“After the Strictly Learn To Dance event happened, I carried on – I did a few grades and enjoyed Salsa and did some bits of ballroom here and there and some other Latin dances too.

“I stopped going for a few years, but now they have contacted me and asked if I fancied having a go again. I enjoyed the whole process way back then – it’s just so much fun and all the memories have come flooding back.”

Second time around, Matt is hoping to achieve a better result – but, of course, the most important aspect of the event is the money raised for charity.

“Last time, you were asked to try and raise £400 as a participant and this time it’s £500, so I hope to generate more donations,” he said.

“Everyone dances a social Foxtrot and a Quickstep. Katy and I will be among four or five couples dancing a Cha-Cha.

“It will be a great night – it’s a public event with evening dress and judges who score the dancers, just like Strictly Come Dancing.

“It would be nice to win – last time, my partner and I were third of five couples in the Salsa group and I thought we were robbed!

“But it’s a different dance this time, so we’ll see how we get on.”

If you would like to support Matt’s fund-raising campaign by making a donation to Bolton Hospice, you can do so via his JustGiving page: Matthew Sibley is fundraising for Bolton Hospice (justgiving.com)

Bolton Hospice provides expert care and support for people facing life-limiting illnesses, and their families, with 16 private en-suite rooms for those who may need inpatient care.

Tickets for the event are on sale now, available via this link.

Keeeeeep dancing, Matt!

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