Meet the Charity members who danced at Buckingham Palace
25 Dec 2017
If you tuned in to the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, you will have seen four fantastic couples - all members of the National Osteoporosis Society - enjoying a rather wonderful tea dance at Buckingham Palace, hosted by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. The dance was held in the name of 'active ageing' - celebrating the wonders that dance can do for our bone health and general sense of well-being.
From left: Mick, Moira, Dennis, Gill, Pauline, Roger, Tony and Denise, gathering outside Buckingham Palace before filming the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.
As well as Charity members, the tea dance was attended by Charity Ambassador and Strictly Come Dancing judge, Craig Revel Horwood, and professional and celebrity dancers from the show, past and present.
You can find out more about our four rather lucky and FAB-U-LOUS-ly footloose couples below.
Moira and Mick Holmes from Nottingham
Moira, 80 and Mick, 81, have been running weekly tea dances for the Nottingham Support Group for the past eight years.
Moira, who has osteoporosis and has been a member of the National Osteoporosis Society for 23 years, is very careful and wary of falling. There are therefore some dances that she avoids - especially those that involve twisting her back – but she believes that dancing has been good for her balance.
Moira and Mick have danced together regularly for a long time, enjoying dancing as a social activity and a way to keep active.
Both said their trip to the Palace made an exceptionally memorable day, "we had a really lovely time and will no-doubt be sharing our fond memories of dancing at the Palace for years to come."
Tony and Denise Driscoll from Portsmouth
Tony, 74 and Denise, 71, met at dance classes in 1961.
The couple are both affected by osteoporosis; fractures in 5 vertebrae of his spine have caused Tony to lose half an inch in height and Denise has previously fractured her shoulder in a fall. The couple returned to their love of dance by taking up classes in 2012 and now attend tea dances once a week at a local village hall. Although both are in pain as a result of osteoporosis and have to take care in terms of some of the dancing they do, they say that regular dancing has kept them feeling young and active.
A behind-the-scenes snap of Tony and Denise in action, twirling across the floor in the Buckingham Palace ballroom.
Pauline and Roger Wheeler from Fareham
Pauline, 67 and Roger, 74, have a long love of dancing.
Pauline started dancing as a child and has competed professionally at prestigious competitions in Blackpool and the Royal Albert Hall. She became one of the youngest accredited dance teachers in the UK at the age of 16 and has been teaching dance in the Portsmouth area for the past 20 years - Tony and Denise Driscoll are among the students attending her classes.
Pauline found out she had osteoporosis when she was in her 50s and now avoids dances which involve too much jumping. Roger is also a keen dancer and both say that dancing is a great way of exercising, improving balance and getting out to meet people.
A quick snap of Pauline enjoying a dance-to-remember with Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Anton Du Beke.
Gill and Dennis Ward from Sutton Coldfield
Gill, 73 and Dennis, 77, are both lifelong dancers who love the exercise and happiness dancing brings them.
Gill has been dancing since she was 9 and remembers attending dance lessons taught by Len Goodman in the 70s and Arlene Philips in the 80s. Gill found out she had osteoporosis 20 years ago and has been a member of the National Osteoporosis Society since 2002. Despite living with the effects of osteoporosis, which has caused a weakness in her back and wrist, Gill still teaches classes in ballroom and Latin dancing. Gill said:
"It was amazing - I feel as if I have been in a dream! My husband and I are most grateful that we were invited to take part in such a special event. It was such a surprise and so nice of the professionals to invite us to dance and to give up their time to support our charity - I will treasure the memory of dancing with them for the rest of my life."