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Strictly Inverness 2024 diary: Team bonding

By Andrew Dixon

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Some of the Strictly Inverness 2024 dancers and coaches.
Some of the Strictly Inverness 2024 dancers and coaches.

Nothing brings a team of people together better than a relaxing night out, probably!

I'm not sure how everyone else felt this morning, but given I'm teetotal, all I felt was tired after the first Strictly social for the cast of 2024.

Although all I did was 10-pin bowling and chatting – not singing and dancing like some of the squad – I had been up since 4am, so it turned into a relatively late night for yours truly but the buzz of getting a chance to catch up and compare notes on dancing and fundraising was great.

One of my reasons for signing up to Strictly Inverness was to meet more people and they are all a great bunch of folk from a variety of backgrounds. We also all have the shared aims of learning to dance while generating as much money as possible for event organisers and hosts Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre.

The occasion came a couple of days after my amazing colleagues Louise, Kay and Darrell secured the first Highland Masquerade Ball charity event (details below) in aid of my Strictly fundraising campaign. Alongside dance partner Ruth, we are all aiming to make the event on March 29 at Inverness's Drumossie Hotel as successful as possible and we'd love to see it sold out as it's all for charity.

Highalnd Masquerade Ball.
Highalnd Masquerade Ball.

As well as arranging our own fundraising events, it's been great to support those laid on by other dancers. Earlier today, Ruth and I were at the ice centre for Shireen Fyffe's Clothes Swish, which was super busy.

Me with my dance parther Ruth Mason (left) and Shireen Fyffe.
Me with my dance parther Ruth Mason (left) and Shireen Fyffe.

The fundraising is an important element of the competition because each dance couple is rewarded points in the semi-final based on their partnership's combined total.

Those are added to points earned via the individual dances. This week, we added a wee bit more to our rumba, while our samba stalled due to a postponed lesson (I'm positive we'll catch up). Our group dance added another style to the mix, making it a selection box which should have something for everyone to enjoy.

Another positive this week was the chance to learn more about the dancers in Team Friday by sharing their factfiles online. It follows the Team Thursday factfiles from a week earlier.

Ruth and I are overwhelmed by the help and support we've had so far from friends, family and colleagues with everything from personal fundraisers aiding our efforts to ideas for bigger events.

I remain astonished by the generosity of Macdonald Aviemore Resort, which has donated a truly fabulous prize (details below). There are fewer than 15 balls remaining, please email me at andy.dixon@hnmedia.co.uk if you want to enter.

Win a one-night stay at Macdonald Aviemore Resort.
Win a one-night stay at Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

I'm also super grateful to Bikes of Inverness, the Forge Gym in Inverness and MKM Building Supplies in Aviemore, who are displaying posters for the Strictly Raffle and selling tickets (£1 each) on my behalf to anyone interested.

Friends and colleagues have also entered the bonus ball contest and bought raffle tickets during the past seven weeks of fundraising and it is humbling to receive their encouragement and support. I'd imagine the same can be said for the other dancers who have generated much-needed donations too. It's been really impressive so far with the total already passing £65,000.

All the fundraising activities coming up that I'm aware of are here:

  • For Rachel Wood and Reece Ross: Quiz night, March 1, Glen Ord Distillery, Muir of Ord
  • For Amy Macleod: Soup and pudding lunch, March 2, Bernera Community Centre
  • For Andy Dixon and Ruth Mason: June Field (psychic, charity raffle at event), March 6, Craigmonie Hotel, Inverness
  • For Amy Macleod and Lana Ingram: Sparkling tipsy tea party, March 9, Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
  • For Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon: Quiz night, March 12, Rose Street Foundry, Inverness
  • For Stefan Robertson, A night of mediumship, March 13, Caley Club, Inverness
  • For Kaitlyn Heggie, Boozy bingo, March 15, Chieftain Hotel, Inverness
  • For Scott Wilson, Family Race Night, March 15, Raigmore Motel, Inverness
  • For Beth Saunders, A night of mediumship, March 15, Inverness Ice Centre
  • For Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon: Coffee morning, March 16, Nairn United Reformed Church
  • For Ailsa Campbell: Going for Gold dinner and dance, March 16, Rose Hall, Dingwall Legion
  • For Melissa Brailsford: Saint Patrick's Day drinking, March 16, Mosset Tavern, Forres
  • For Reese Ross: Race night, March 16, Caley Club, Inverness
  • For Amy Macleod: Race night, March 16, Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club, Stornoway
  • For Ryan Bell and Angela Urquhart, Abba karaoke night, March 16, Inverness Ice Centre
  • For Rachel Wood: Hospice Cup charity football match, March 17, Millburn Academy all-weather pitch, Inverness
  • For Kenna Ross: Soundbath, March 17, Balloch Hall
  • For Beth Saunders: Beth's Blacktie Bash, March 22, Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
  • For Shireen Fyffe: Football tournament, March 23, Inverness Royal Academy all-weather pitch
  • For Kenna Ross: Afternoon tea, March 23, Ness Walk Hotel, Inverness
  • For Louise Mainland: Spring Fayre, March 23, Kincraig Hall
  • For Stefan Robertson: Party night with DJ Gary Tuach, March 23, Chieftain Hotel, Inverness
  • For Jacqui Crawford: Ceilidh dance, February 23, Culcabock and Drakies Community Hall, Inverness
  • For Andy Dixon and Ruth Mason: Highland Masquerade Ball, March 29, Drumossie Hotel, Inverness
  • For Melissa Brailsford: Happy Easter disco, March 29, Mosset Tavern, Forres
  • For Stefan Robertson: Easter family ice disco, March 29, Inverness Ice Centre
  • For Darryl Geegan: So you think you can drag?, March 30, British Legion Club, Inverness
  • For Ailsa Campbell: Charity football tournament, March 30, Maryburgh pitches
  • For Kenna Ross: Music Talent Show, March 30, Balloch Church
  • For Shireen Fyffe: Sunflower flow yoga & sound bath session, March 30, Inverness Town House
  • For Robert Ince: Bob's big car boot & indoor market, March 31, Dingwall Mart
  • For Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon: Race night, April 6, Westerlea Hotel, Nairn
  • For Sean MacIver and Niamh Mcauley: Race night, April 6, Chieftain Hotel, Inverness
  • For Reece Ross and Rachel Wood: Ceilidh, April 6, Green Hall, Inverness
  • For Stefan Robertson: Bobby Bee cake event, April 6, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness
  • For Ruth Mason and Andy Dixon: Hoolie for the Hospice Ceilidh, April 7, Hootananny, Inverness
  • For Lesley Clark: Rock N Reel fundraiser, April 12, Beaufort Hotel, Inverness
  • For Kaitlyn Heggie and Emma MacDonald: Dinner dance, April 13, Nairn Community & Arts Centre
  • For Stefan Robertson and Lesley Clark: Full Monty Fundraiser, April 13, Raigmore Motel, Inverness
  • For Stefan Robertson: Tipsy tea party, April 27, Beaufort Hotel, Inverness

I'll aim to update the events list each week.

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