THE strength of their determination to succeed will be tempered only by their utter lack of natural grace, talent or coordination as reporter Marion Sauvebois and her partner Sean Cameron take to the dance floor for the 160 Appeal.

In the spirit of charity and against her better judgement, the 26-year-old signed up for and roped in her semi-willing boyfriend to Let’s Dance, Prospect Hospice’s amateur ballroom competition on November 28.

The showcase will see 15 couples with no previous training learn their steps over eight weeks throughout the autumn, in preparation for a live performance at the Links Centre.

“Sean and I certainly do not have a reputation for our smooth moves, quite the opposite,” said Marion. “We realised early on in our relationship that we should actually avoid dancing together as it brought the worst out of both of us. The two ceileidhs we attended together at university ended with him trampling my feet and repeatedly kicking me in the shins.

“And I was not exactly a picture of grace or elegance myself. My ballet teacher, when I was five, nicknamed me the elephant – which scarred me for life – thanks to the clumsy way in which I landed heavily on the floor after every jump. I am hoping ballroom doesn’t require the same skills as ballet otherwise weeks of training will not be enough to beat the elephant out of me.”

She added: “I really wanted to do something for Prospect Hospice. Writing features on the charity and interviewing patients and inspiring fundraisers each week has opened up my eyes to the outstanding care provided by the hospice’s devoted staff.”

Now on board Sean, 24, is warming up to the idea of bearing his torso in a glittery ruffled top Strictly-style on the night.

“I would love to say Marion asked me nicely rather than told me she had signed me up already and that it was too late to back down – but anyone who has met her would know I was lying,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to it really. The training will be fun. But it will definitely test our relationship.

“I’m not expecting a miracle dance-wise but it’s for a good cause and I will focus my efforts on fundraising.”

So far five couples have signed up to Let’s Dance with ten places remaining.

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