UTV stars in charity dance-off

Published Friday, 09 November 2012
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UTV newsreaders are ditching the newsroom and joining staff from the Royal Hospital for a unique dance-off this weekend.

UTV's Marc Mallett and Alison Fleming are putting on their dancing shoes alongside BBC personalities Martina Purdy, Marie-Louise Connolly as well as Citybeat's Stephen Clements and Cool FM's Kirstie McMurray.

Six months ago, the eight couples got together and they never danced a step in their lives, they are now in last minute rehearsals before their performance on Saturday night.

They will be dancing not one but three dances from a range of styles, from the Argentinean Tango to the Jive- and all in front of a packed crowd at Titanic Belfast.

The event is all in order to raise vital funds for the Children's MRI Scanner appeal, which aims to enable Northern Irish children to access to the same level of service as the rest of the UK.

Bill McCallion, consultant paediatric surgeon at the Royal explained that currently there is no MRI scanner on site.

"We deal with the most vulnerable and critically ill children throughout Northern Ireland," he said.

Having a MRI scanner on site will make an enormous difference to the care that we can give these children and in some cases it will be life saving.

Bill McCallion

Project manager John Mulgrew came up with the unique fundraising idea.

"Well myself and my wife had the idea, she she is a pediatric neurologist at the Royal and we just really wanted to do something for the charity," he explained.

"So originally we thought a community hall, with some strictly come dancing and some raffle tickets maybe and it all took off when we got a professional even management company and from that day on it has been impossible to control. It has just exploded."

Sarah Quinlan from the charity explained that the competition, along with a number of other events has helped get them get well on course to acquiring the funds for the MRI scanner.

"We envisage that by March 2013, we will hopefully hit our target of £2m and we are working closely with the Belfast Trust and producing a business case, were hopefully we will have a MIR scanner in the children hospital in the very near future,"

Royal Does Strictly ballroom dancing competition takes place at the Titanic Belfast, Saturday 10 November at 7pm.

© UTV News
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