This Saturday our Customer Experience Executive, Kev Walsh, is swapping Facebook for the foxtrot as he comes to the end of a 10 week quest to learn to dance, all in a bid to raise money for an important local charity. Everyone here would like to wish Kev, and his dance partner Val, the best of luck for the weekend – especially Georgina and Chris who have been ‘fortunate’ enough to be his practice partners here in StressFreePrint towers. 

Val Hulme & Kevin Walsh (1)So for the past 10 weeks I’ve been gearing up to take part in the Bolton Hospice “Strictly Learn to Dance” contest. Fumbling through a social foxtrot, destroying the quickstep and staggering through the salsa in a bid to be at least up to scratch enough to not totally humiliate myself on April 9th.

And it’s been fun. REALLY fun!

But surprisingly the dancing has not been the most difficult part of the whole experience. Nor has having to cope with my dance partner Val – who I really am very glad to have met despite what our constant bickering and insistence that we’re going to change partners at the first available opportunity may suggest. No. The most difficult part of the whole experience is actually answering the question “why did you decide to get involved?”

The thing is, the more I have learnt about the other people taking part, the more it strikes me that I don’t really ‘deserve’ to be having this fantastic experience. For some of the dancers the hospice has been there for them during one of the most difficult times of anyone’s life. Making their friends or family members as comfortable as possible as they come to the end of a battle against life-limiting illness. Other participants actually work or volunteer with the hospice. Looking after patients, organising charity shop rotas or looking after the day to day maintenance of the building.

But not me. I’ve never had anyone close need the expertise and talents of the fantastic staff of the hospice. Nor have I ever had friends or family members brave enough to work or volunteer regularly with the Hospice either.

At least, that is, until I spent 10 weeks dancing around a room with so many fantastic people. All with different cause and reason to do what they’re doing.

Because I guess now I’ve finally figured out the “why?”

I got involved with ‘Strictly Learn to Dance’ because, despite being lucky enough to have never needed the services of such a fantastic organisation, there are so many people in the town who have. I may not have had to visit a Grandma or Grandad, Mum or Dad, Aunt or Uncle being cared for and supported by the hospice – but for those that have it’s a truly essential service. And stepping out in front of 700+ people on Saturday and tripping over Val’s enormous feet will never even come close to the bravery of those fantastic staff and volunteers at Bolton Hospice. Staff who goto work each and every day knowing that there is a very big chance that the people they have been caring for, laughing with and forming friendships with over the past weeks and months – may not be there anymore.

That’s why I got involved, and hopefully you’ll do the same in the future. Maybe you’ll do “Strictly 2017”, or take part in the upcoming Midnight Memories walk? Maybe you’ll visit one of the Bolton Hospice shops and make a purchase that will go towards keeping this vital service running? or maybe you’ll just grab your phone right now and text: SLTD88 £5 to 70070 and make a donation to show that, like me, you really appreciate the fantastic work done by these truly awesome people.