A very special event will take place on Friday, October 4 when Strictly Come Dancing returns to Hotel Minella in Clonmel.
Forty anxious feet will swirl around the hallowed Minella floor just like the last two years when the South Tipperary Strictly Come Dancing team have enthralled audiences.
This event has been massively over-subscribed in the last two years so it is vital that tickets are purchased beforehand from Better By Nature in Clonmel, The Heritage in Cahir, from any of the dancers or from the committee members of the local branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Project.
Like all charities, the Chernobyl Children’s Project International (CCPI) has seen a downturn in income in recent years. Recently they have decided to change the focus of their operations. Previously they brought children from Belarus to Clonmel for a holiday with a host family.
This year they are focusing their attentions on the Vesnova project. The Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum is situated in rural sourthern Belarus. It is home to 160 children ranging in age from 4 to 16 who have a wide range of learning and physical disabilities. When the project first visited the institution in early 2002 the children were living in sub-standard, unhygenic conditions where they didn’t receive a proper level of care. Vesnova had some of the worst conditions the project leaders had ever seen.
Carol Morrisey of the local branch said, “CCPI Irish volunteers have created a new high dependency unit and the work has been carried out throughout the building to improve sleeping and washroom facilities. We have made a dramatic improvement in sanitation and the quality of life continues to improve for these children every day. Perhaps most importantly, CCPI has trained and pays three nursing staff who work side by side with the current staff. A team of professionals travels regularly from Ireland to supervise their work and assess current and future needs. We hope to supplement the nursing staff with other health professionals to allow for a more comprehensive level of care for the children.”
Recently the area was hit with extreme weather which resulted in some of the houses being flooded. The priority for the funds raised from Strictly will go to rebuilding and refurbishing houses for two boys, both named Sasha, who live in this complex. Both boys have been supported by the Clonmel group before and have filmed a special message that will be relayed on the night.
This is a very special charity that is well worth supporting and of course has a very strong Clonmel link as its founder, Adi Roche is from the town. Adi will be present at the event, as will some other special guests. Two professional world-ranked ballroom dancers will treat the audience to a display during the interval that left spectators mesmerised last year. They have promised that they will raise it another notch this year. World-class local Irish dancers Leah and Cliona Condon will dance at the interval.
The guest judges will be renowned dancing judge Noel O’Donoghue; local producer/director/choreographer Deirdre Buckley and first-time adjudicator Paul Walsh of Royseven and RTE fame.
The dancers feature some that have taken part in all three shows to date - Ruth Quinn, Leah Morrissey, Michael McGuane and John Ryan; some returning faces in Dan Casey, David O’Gorman and Joan Leahy; as well as first-timers Clare Bridle, Arthur O’Donnell, Maria Gleeson, Margaret O’Dwyer, Tom Ryan, Keith Greene, Brid Wilkinson, Michelle Moloney, Donncha Doyle, Laura Moloney, Pat Treacy, Nikki Cleere and Shane Lawlor.
They all can’t wait to take to the floor for what promises to be a great night for a worthy cause.