A Strictly Come Dancing super-fan had the surprise of her life when 2016 champion Ore Oduba arrived to dance with her at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom.
The memorable moment for Christine Howe from Lytham was the latest ‘bucket list’ wish come true organised by the Just Good Friends friendship group.
It was a complete surprise – I was really really pleased”
Previous wishes organised by Just Good Friends founder Bev Sykes for group members have included flying a kite, a hot air balloon trip and even riding a motorcycle with ex-world champion Carl Fogarty.
With the help of the BBC’s Inside Out North West programme, Bev made the Strictly dream come true for Christine, 65, who is a huge fan of the huge-popular Saturday evening BBC show and is a regular at the Tower Ballroom.
After telling Bev that her dream would be to dance with one of the Strictly stars, Christine was eager enough to take to the dance floor with fellow members of Just Good Friends.
What she didn’t know was that Bev had a surprise up her sleeve and the reigning Strictly winner Ore Oduba joined them.
Last time TV presenter Ore was at the Tower, he stunned the Strictly judges with an impressive display before going on to win the competition - and Christine was well and truly swept off her feet as they stepped out on to the legendary dance floor together.
Christine said: “It was a complete surprise – I was really really pleased”, while Ore said: “For me this is such a special place and I’ve got incredible memories of this ballroom. To come here and dance with someone who loves this ballroom, loves dance, just brought all that passion and excitement back for me as well. So I hope it was a good surprise.”
Since its formation four years ago, Just Good Friends, which is a registered charity, has grown to more than 200 members, who enjoy a number of activities ranging from ballroom dancing and keep fit classes, to guest speaker events and afternoon teas.
Bev, who gave up her job to become the charity’s full-time co-ordinator, said: “I get so much pleasure out of seeing other people enjoying themselves, having fun, their wishes coming true, making a difference. It genuinely warms my heart because I’ve experienced loneliness and I know what it’s like and it’s a horrible, horrible thing…”
Christine’s dance date with Ore will be shown on Inside Out North West on BBC 1 on Monday at 7.30pm.