Ayrshire Does Strictly Raises More Than £16,000 For Killie Community!

EIGHT well-known local personalities and their professional dance partners dazzled a packed ballroom at Ayr Racecourse throughout an evening of glitz and glamour which raised an incredible £16,825 for the Killie Community on Saturday 30th September.

Kilmarnock legend Mark Reilly entranced a star-studded judging panel headed by Strictly Come Dancing professional Ian Waite, but it was another one of the club’s familiar faces who brought the coveted glitterball trophy back to Rugby Park.

The evening burst into song with an opening set from special guest host Michelle McManus, before Kilmarnock FC’s Charity Manager, Jordan Allison, kicked off proceedings by highlighting the Killie Community’s vital role within Ayrshire.

Bringing the dancefloor to life, a mesmerising routine from the unmissable cast of professionals, accompanied by 2022 winner Melissa Pellegrini, wowed more than 300 guests in the Princess Royal suite. Attendees were treated to a delicious three-course meal and an exclusive dance lesson from Ian Waite, while this year’s contestants shook off nerves backstage ahead of the main event.

Ian Waite took his seat on the judging panel alongside Fashion Stylist, Janis Sue Smith, co-founder of Scotland’s first digital recording studio, Helena Morrow, and renowned psychic, Frank Pilkington.

Opening this year’s competition in glamourous style, Sharon Dowey was first up on the evening alongside partner Nuno. The MSP took on the Cha Cha Cha as she returned to the dancefloor for the first time since her school dancing days.

Former landlord and local gym owner Bryce McCutcheon raised the bar alongside international dancer Rita, conquering the Rumba with a breathtaking performance that left the panel almost speechless.

‘Unstoppable’ was the anthem aptly chosen by Mark Reilly and dance partner Maria as they fiercely tackled the Paso Doble. The Killie hero’s performance proved that he’s managed to maintain the quick footwork which earned him a treasured Scottish Cup winners’ medal back in ‘97.

A&E nurse turned S&A Housing Support Services worker Kelly Ryder joined partner Sami in getting heart rates racing as they jived their way into the top half of the leaderboard.

First out after the interval was owner of The Italian Restaurant Group Anthony Cecchini and partner Lorna, whose Viennese Waltz to the tune of Delilah had the racecourse audience back on their feet. Their footsteps were followed by owner of a local building company Stuart Duncan who downed tools for the night to take on a Salsa mixed Cha Cha Cha routine with street dance teacher Leanne.

Saving the best for last, it was the two final contestants who would meet in the dance off after taking the floor by storm. Aird Unit teacher Diane Sisi and her partner Frederico Samba’d into the final showdown, where they were met by Kilmarnock FC Hospitality Manager Emma Wyper and her partner Sam.

A contemporary dance to a Whitney Houston classic saw Emma crowned ‘Queen of the Night’ by Head Judge Ian Waite who was handed the all-important deciding vote after a nail-biting finale.

Kilmarnock FC’S Managing Director, Phyllis McLeish, concluded the competition by sending a final thanks to dancers, guests and event sponsors – Regency Facilities Management – who all played a starring role in raising substantial funds for the club’s charity.

Following floor-filling classics from Michelle McManus, the Kilted DJ took over the party which left guests practicing their new dance moves long into the night. You can take a look at some highlights of the evening – HERE.