‘STRICTLY BONKERS’:

Mum is picked for BBC dance show

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Goolis­tan Cooper goolis­tan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN UXBRIDGE mum is waltz­ing on to TV screens as a con­tes­tant on a non­celebrity edi­tion of Strictly Come Danc­ing.

Anna Kennedy will star in the five-part show in aid of Comic Re­lief that starts tonight on BBC1 along­side all the Strictly reg­u­lars, An­ton du Beke, Darcey Bus­sell, Bruno To­nioli and Len Good­man, and hosts Tess Daly and Clau­dia Win­kle­man.

Anna, 54, set up schools and sup­port for peo­ple with Autis­tic Spec­trum Dis­or­ders and was awarded the OBE for ser­vices to spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion. She will be one of six ‘ev­ery­day he­roes’ tak­ing part in The Peo­ple’s Strictly. She said: “I’m a big fan of the show and have watched it since it first started. It’s bonkers – I’ve gone from try­ing to get tick­ets to the show to per­form­ing on it!”

Some 11,000 peo­ple were nom­i­nated to ap­pear on The Peo­ple’s Strictly. This was whit­tled down to 25 be­fore the fi­nal six were con­firmed. The first episode will fea­ture three of the six contestants, and show their ‘big re­veal’, where they learn they have been cho­sen to ap­pear on the show.

Anna’s big re­veal takes place on Wed­nes­day, March 4, and the fol­low­ing day view­ers can see how she and the five other contestants get by in train­ing.

On March 11 the ac­tual dance show will be broad­cast, where Mrs Kennedy will per­form the Charleston and a group dance num­ber, with the win­ner an­nounced on Red Nose Day on March 13.

While she can­not give any­thing away about her big re­veal, she did say she was blown away when she found out. She said: “I was gob-smacked. I thought I was go­ing to pass out. Tess and Clau­dia had to hold me up.

“I was told that some­one had put my name for­ward but then didn’t hear any­thing else and for­got about it.”

Anna will part­ner Robin Wind­sor and will be men­tored by for­mer Strictly con­tes­tant Jake Wood – bet­ter known to mil­lions as Max Bran­ning in EastEn­ders. She said: “It’s scary but I’m very ex­cited. I couldn’t wish for a bet­ter part­ner in Robin, and Jake has been great, tex­ting me to see how I’m get­ting on. I was watch­ing EastEn­ders last week and was glad it wasn’t him who killed Lucy Beale!”

Anna, who tap-danced as a child be­fore tak­ing it up again in re­cent years, set up Hilling­don Manor School in Har­ling­ton Road in 1999 and hopes her ap­pear­ance on the show will raise aware­ness of spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion. She is mar­ried with two autis­tic sons. She also hopes Hilling­don will come out in force and vote for her dur­ing the show.

BLOWN AWAY: Anna Kennedy is very ex­cited to be danc­ing with Robin Wind­sor

Photo by Ray Bur­mis­ton

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