Dance spectacular will help purchase scanning machine for South Tipp General Hospital

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Email:

aileen.hahesy@nationalist.ie

Strictly Come Dancing

Danielle Lonergan and paramedic Damian Gough, the winners of the emergency services' Strictly Come Dancing

The ballroom dancing craze shows no sign of waning, as an estimated 700 people watched members of the emergency services perform at the "Clonmel 999ers" Strictly Come Dancing event at Hotel Minella in Clonmel. 

Gardai, fire fighters, nurses and paramedics hung up their uniforms for a night to dazzle the audience with their new dancing skills. 

Joining them on the dancefloor were former Tipperary hurler John Leahy, Tipperary Ladies football star Gillian O'Brien and other volunteers. 

The event was organised to raise funds to help purchase a mobile ultrasound scanning machine for South Tipperary General Hospital's Maternity Services. 

Declan Harte, one of the organisers, said they don't have a final figure for the amount raised yet but are confident it will be enough to purchase the scanner outright. They hope to present a cheque for the proceeds within the next two weeks. 

Above - Paramedic Amy Fitzgerald and Ben Walsh with support dancers in the emergency services' 'Strictly' show

The winners of the competition were Dungarvan-based paramedic Damien Gough and Danielle Lonergan, a teacher at St. Mary's National School in Irishtown in Clonmel. 

The judging panel included former Kerry footballer Aidan O'Mahony, who won RTE's Dancing With The Stars competition last year; Jimmy O'Sullivan from Fethard and Mia Kearney from Ballypatrick. 

Declan said they were overwhelmed by the public response to the event. Tickets were like gold dust in the days before it took place and the hotel's ballroom was packed to capacity. 

He said that Irish rugby international Seán O'Brien was among the hundreds who enjoyed the night. 

Above - Roisin Moroney and Garda John English take to the floor in Strictly Come Dancing

"It was a fantastic and most enjoyable night. People had banners supporting the different dance couples and some travelled from as far as Monaghan and Galway to see the show." 

After the competition, the audience joined the Strictly Come Dancing competitors in dancing the night away to the music of the Golden Sounds band. 

Declan thanked all the companies and individuals who provided sponsorship, the dancers and their families and all involved in organising the event, particularly Maria Gleeson and the choreographer Ruth Quinn, who prepared the dancers over the past three months. 

Above - Amy O'Sullivan and Garda Eamon O'Keeffe dancing the tango at Hotel Minella during Strictly Come Dancing

He thanked Moyle Rovers and Clonmel Óg GAA Clubs for making their training facilities available for the dancers and the local hairdressers and beauticians who did contestants' hair, make-up and fake tan.