Rehearsals and Training

Rehearsals will take place weekly on Tuesday evenings between 8pm-9pm at the Stamshaw and Tipner Community Centre (69 Wilson Rd, Portsmouth PO2 8LE). See the venue in Google Maps.

The training will be led by David Keal School of Dance and Scarlett Rose School of Dance. David Keal and Beverley Craig have very kindly donated their time to Rowans Hospice as part of the event.

Find out how rehearsals are going and follows the dancers’ progress in our video diaries:

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Beverley Craig and David Keal, professional dance teachers

8th February 2020

Celebrity Judges

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Katy Sexton square

No stranger to competition, Katy is a former female Olympic swimmer for Great Britain. She became the first British swimmer to win a World Championship title when she won the Women’s 200m in 2003. She has represented Great Britain in two Olympics, four World Championships and three Commonwealth Games. She was awarded the MBE for services to swimming in 2004.

2019 Strictly FD Judge2 Reveal Landscape

Our second judge is a Patron here at the Hospice – TV legend Fred Dinenage!
Fred has appeared as a presenter on many TV programmes such as ‘Tell The Truth’, ‘How’ and its successor ‘How 2’, and BBC quiz show ‘Pass The Buck’ and ‘Gambit’. Fred has presented Meridian Tonight for ITV since 1993, and became co-anchor of a new pan-regional edition in 2009. In 2014 he celebrated his 50th anniversary as reporter/presenter with ITV.

Bessie cursons square

Bessie is an actress from Portsmouth who reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2007. Bessie went on to star in the children’s comedy-drama, My Phone Genie. After training at the renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School, London, she’s held leading roles in a number of productions including the feature film “Nativity!” as well as other acting credits such as “By Any Means”, “Doctors”, “Casualty” and “Dr Foster”.  Bessie now runs the Bessie Cursons Theatre & Dance Academy in Portsmouth.

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Born in Portsmouth, Amanda worked as an estate agent in Havant and part-time as a barmaid for five years before becoming a professional model. In 1994, Amanda took over the role of the Scottish Widow and in 2001, she became the main presenter of the Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’. Amanda can currently be seen presenting a prime time property show on More4 called Selling Houses with Amanda Lamb.


Here are our Strictly stars 2020!

  • Sarah Astin
    Having suffered a stroke last year, fortunately with minimal lasting damage, I am continuing to live my life to the fullest. I have  been a Strictly fan for years, wishing it was me on that dance floor. I am so happy that my wish has been granted.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaGraham Chappell & Sam Brewster
    We can’t think of anything better to be a part of than ‘Rowans does Strictly’! Learning a life long skill whilst raising money for the fantastic Rowans Hospice. Being massive fans of the Strictly Come Dancing show, we are looking forward to challenging ourselves just like the celebrities do.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaNatalie and Adam Bundle
    The unexpected passing of my nan last April made us realise life is too short and you should grab every opportunity! Being selected for ‘Rowans does Strictly’ is a dream come true, after years of watching and wanting to be on the programme. It is the perfect start to 2020.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaMalcolm Chewter
    As a lover of all things sparkly this is a great opportunity to learn to dance, sparkle and support a good cause! As the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth when Rowans officially opened, I totally appreciate the work that the charity does to support our local community.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaSarah and David Cowan
    We love ‘Strictly’ and all the different dances! To have the chance to take on this challenge and be able to actually learn to dance is going to be amazing. Plus it will also be massive surprise to our family! They will be 100% behind us as my mum was nursed by the Rowans in 1997.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaAnna Craig
    I simply love dancing. Taking part in Rowans does Strictly is a way of doing what I enjoy, whilst raising money for a great local charity.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaZena Dawson
    I’m a Dementia Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Hospice. I am thrilled to be taking part as I want to raise money for our amazing Hospice and raise awareness of how we support people with Dementia, whilst fulfilling a lifelong dream to learn ballroom. I’ve never persuaded someone to partner with me, but now I can’t wait to get dancing!
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaStacey Eastwood
    I am part of the nursing team at the hospice, I love to dance on a night out. I dance once a week swing and jive so am looking forward to this new challenge. Especially as I want to raise as much money as I can to support the redevelopment of the Hospice, so Rowans can continue to provide outstanding care for our community.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaNaomi Edgson
    Great I am taking part as it will help me raise money for a charity which is close to my heart. My Mum was cared for by Rowans before she sadly passed away with Motor Nueron Disease. The care she received and the support Rowans gave us as her family was incredible.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaSarah Finch
    I am ecstatic to be taking part. As a ‘Strictly’ fan for 17 years I so want to be able to master a salsa, tango or Viennese Waltz. I am really hoping to be taught to do a fleckle or heel turn! To finally be having my strictly moment, whilst helping to raise funds for such an important local Charity is amazing!
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaPeter Gammon and Heather Barrett
    Heather and I love the show. Heather used to do ‘Mo Jive’ quite a bit around 10 years ago and I have been known to ‘Dad Dance’ occasionally! We’re looking forward to taking part, as it will be a really fun thing to be involved in and will raise vital funds for Rowans. A charity I am so thankful to after the support the ‘Hospice at Home’ team gave to my mum in her last few days.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaPamela George
    Five years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which prevented me from continuing with my dancing. However I’m now physically much stronger and this means I can now use my renewed strength to help others . A number of my friends and families over the years have been supported by Rowans. The support has been priceless and outstanding.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaWayne Jeffery & Rianne Rose
    It is so fitting to be part of ‘Rowans does Strictly’. My mum, and all of us, were supported by Rowans before and after she passed away in 2011. Mum loved ‘Strictly’ and she loved Rowans, so this is the perfect fundraising event to be part of.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, Southsea Karen King
    I loved dancing since I was a young girl and being part of Rowans does Strictly will be so uplifting and inspirational, because we are all dancing to raise money to support the fantastic service Rowans provides. A service I feel passionate about, as my Dad has been using the Living Well Centre since last May and he just loves it there.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaFaye O’Grady
    As cancer survivor having gone through a 13 year battle, I can’t wait to revisit some of the ballroom dances I used to do as a child. It is great to do this whilst raising money for local charity, as friends that have been involved with the Rowans only ever say amazing things about what the Hospice does.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaAnna Paterson
    Being a part of ‘Rowans does Strictly’ is a dream come true. I used to do Ballroom and Latin but not having a regular dance partner made it difficult to progress. So this experience will be totally fabulous.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaLinda Pugh
    Taking part in ‘Rowans does Strictly’ is such a fabulous way to support such an amazing charity. Five years ago Rowans Hospice at Home were there to support my husband. I cannot underestimate the fabulous care that Rowans gave my husband, myself and our family.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaJill Ricketts and Roger Pearce
    We can’t wait to take on this fundraising dance challenge. Fingers crossed my recent lessons in Ceroc may help! My story is the reason I wanted to take part, and am so grateful to be doing so. The care they gave my beautiful Sarah in her final days was second to none, as I say always, Rowans is where Angels work.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaChristine Salero and Kevin Sadler
    We are always the first ones up on the dance floor at any party! And absolutely love watching ‘Strictly’ so cannot wait to start our “Rowans does Strictly” journey. We are hoping my few lessons of Modern Jive many years ago will help us!
  • Hannah and Ryan Seager2Hannah and Ryan Seager
    Rowans were a HUGE support in my life when my Mum’s cancer became terminal and I can’t thank them all enough. I was supported by the Meerkats team which helped me to ‘keep dancing’, so by raising money I want to make sure others can get received the same support we received. We can’t wait to find out if we have the hips for Samba!
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaKevin Smith
    I’m a big Strictly fan and I’m even off to the arena tour next year.  As a two left-footed dad dancer who’s never danced before, I am ecstatic to have been chosen to take part in Rowans does Strictly.
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaRay Southam
    I get the Strictly bug every year and have always wanted to do something like it. I turned 40 in 2019 and am making it a year of doing different things, so it’s brilliant I have been selected – I can’t wait to find out if I can dance. And what is more, I have just I received a marriage proposal and said YES, so potentially I could also be training for my first dance!
  • Rowans does Strictly audition at The Pyramids Centre, SouthseaMelissa Tolson
    If you can call attempting to copy dance moves from music videos experience… then I think I have a little bit. Most importantly I just have a love of dance, so I am totally looking forward to the experience of taking part in Rowans does Strictly! I never had the confidence to attend a class on my own  so it is going to be amazing to get some professional help!
  • Samantha WhiteSamantha White
    I am a huge Strictly fan, I watch every year, including the specials! I have always wanted to see how hard it actually is to learn the dances. I also can’t wait to raise money for Rowans, doing something a bit different, as Rowans really helped my family before and after we lost my Grandfather.

Who will be helping to make the night extra special?

 Website-banner-e1581940633694The compere

compere darren gamblen

Express FM presenter Darren Gamblen is our compere on the night, announcing each dance and supporting the couples as they face the judges! Darren describes himself as a “Middle-aged moody Pompey fan and maintain our City is the best anywhere. Happy to support this local charity”.

 Website-banner-e1581940633694The showdancers

showdancers blackpool adamparry poppyshorland

Competitive Ballroom and Latin champion dancers Adam Parry, 17 and Poppy Shorland, 15 will be performing a special showdance on the night. They are currently competing for England Under 21s nationally and internationally so we know they’ll produce something truly a-ma-ZING darling!

 Website-banner-e1581940633694The band

More information to come soon.

Corporate Packages

We are offering businesses the opportunity to be an exclusive Show Partner and join us in hosting what promises to be an exciting, fun-filled evening for all, raising vital funds for the Rowans Hospice Charity. We have a range of corporate packages to suit all budgets, whilst providing a great opportunity to boost your organisational Corporate Social Responsibility profile by partnering with a leading local Charity.

This glittering evening is our 2020 flagship event as part of our Silver Jubilee Appeal to raise £7.5m for the development of the Rowans Hospice. Rowans Does Strictly is a fantastic opportunity to support your local Hospice as we continue to build today for the care of tomorrow.

Download our full Corporate Packages brochure here and see a summary below.

Summary of Corporate Opportunities:

  • Exclusive Show Partner – ‘Show Lounge’ Package (one available) – £5,000
  • VIP Show Supporter Package (five available) – £2,000 each
  • Show Supporter Packages:
    • Official Winners’ Glitterball Trophy sponsor (two available) – £500
    • Contestant Medal Ribbons sponsor (one available) – £500
    • Souvenir Programme Advertising (13 opportunities, various sizes) – £100-£250
    • Celebrity Judges’ Bouquets (one opportunity) – £400
  • Donate to our Grand Raffle

It is through our strategic partnerships with generous corporate benefactors that the Charity can ensure that all funds raised are channelled 100% back into the services we offer.

If you are interested in partnering with us for Rowans Does Strictly, please email Gemma Carden, Corporate Engagement Lead, at or call 023 9223 8532.


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