Update on Wednesday, June 20, 2018: As accountant Karen Thorne and her dance partner Stuart Dawes get ready to take part in a Strictly Come Dancing style charity contest on Saturday night their fund-raising page has topped £4,800 in sponsorship.
Karen, who runs the finance department at Uckfield-based C J Thorne civil engineers is hoping she can reach the £5,000 in the next few days.
She and Stuart are putting the final touches to an energetic dance routine and hoping to wow the audience at the Midsummer Ball – A Night of Nashville, at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.
Several decades have passed since Karen last danced before an audience and she is feeling nervous as the big event approaches.
She said: “I originally started dancing (ballet) at the age of three, and since then I have always loved it. However, I have not been on stage since I was 15, so although I am really excited to perform, I am absolutely petrified at the same time.”
Friends and family are aware of the time, energy, and dedication Karen has put into rehearsals under the guidance of dance professional Stuart Dawes and have every confidence she will have them brimming with pride on the night.
Dusting off dancing shoes
From an Uckfield News story on February 5, 2018: Karen Thorne, who runs the finance department at Uckfield-based C J Thorne civil engineers is dusting off her dancing shoes to take part in a Strictly Come Dancing style charity contest.
The accountant will compete on behalf of Chailey Heritage Foundation against nominees from other charities – Action Medical Research, Chestnut Tree House and The Starr Trust – which will all benefit from a share of funds raised at the Midsummer Ball at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.
Karen’s dance teacher and partner is Stuart Dawes, co-director and principal of The Brighton Academy of Performing Arts, who has recently finished a two-year run performing in Jersey Boys in London’s West End.
The theme for the ball is A Night of Nashville and guests can expect to sing along to all their Country favourites. Karen and Stuart will perform a specially choreographed routine to Dolly Parton’s 80s hit, Nine to Five.
Karen, mum of two grown-up children, is a lifelong dance enthusiast although she was in her teens the last time she performed in public. These days her passion for dance is mainly enjoyed on the sofa on a Saturday evening in front of Strictly Come Dancing.
She said: “The Chailey Heritage motto is ‘We will never, ever give up’ and even though I am apprehensive at the challenges ahead, I am intent on trying to follow that same principle as I train and rehearse with the wonderful Stuart Dawes for the big event on June 23.
“I will be working as hard as possible to raise as much money as I can for the inspirational Chailey Heritage Foundation.”
Chailey Heritage educates and supports children and young people with complex physical disabilities and health needs.
Funds raised for them will go towards their DREAM Centre Appeal to provide a modern and vibrant indoor activity space where children and young people with complex disabilities and health needs can take part in a mixture of arts and physical activities.
If you would like to support Karen and Stuart in their fund-raising please visit their online giving page.
• The ball is being organised by the team at the Hilton, in partnership with the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People.