Lancaster woman dances her way to success to raise £15k for homeless charity
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Sally agreed, at the last minute, to take part in the Strictly charity fundraiser after a chance meeting with the organiser while volunteering for Shelter at Glastonbury this year.
Despite the fear of having to dance the salsa live in front of more than 500 people, she said yes.
Each contestant was provided with eight hours’ training with a professional dancer and had to raise a minimum of £1,000, and as Sally has quite a large social media following she achieved that within a week.
Sally, 54, runs a health and wellness business for women and often runs free challenges in her Facebook and Instagram community and that following have become her biggest supporters.
She said: “It has been incredible to feel the support of my online community. I have had so many donations from people I didn't even know followed me, saying how I have helped them in the past. I have been so touched by everyone's generosity and kindness."
Sally made a point of focusing on the amount of donations, rather than money. Her target was a huge 1,000 individual donations on her Justgiving page, which now stands at more than 1,100!
She says she did not want anyone to feel bad for donating just a few pounds – every donation mattered! One woman donated £3 and wished she could give more but had just been served a Section 21, no fault eviction order, and would herself be homeless at the end of the week.
"That £3 may as well have been £3,000, it meant so much," Sally said.
She added: "I have been proud to wear the Shelter T-shirt. Homelessness should not be happening, but it sadly is very real. Shelter do an incredible job of supporting people through this difficult, stressful and frightening time.
"Over 131,000 children will find themselves homeless or in temporary accomodation this Christmas. It is an overlooked charity and I wanted to raise awareness for the work they do as well as much needed funds."
Sally had to drive to Lymm for her dance lessons and was shocked at how fast the salsa was.
She said: "My partner Alex created a complex routine and I struggled with the speed at times but I practiced lots as I wanted to do it justice. The judges on the night commented on how technical the dance was and one of them even said it was good enough to be on the real Strictly!
"When I walked onto the dance floor I wanted to freeze time as over 70 family, friends and online members had come to support me live from all over the country. To see all their faces cheering me on was very special."
Former Carnforth High school pupil Sally runs her business Get Over Yourself with her husband Simon from an office at The Consult Centre in Morecambe. The couple live in Bolton-le-Sands.
Sally, who also trades as The Sally Wilkinson, used to run weekend health and fitness retreats from VVV gym before it closed down.
Sally's advice is to feel the fear but don't let it dictate - don't let it keep you small and certainly do not worry about what other people may or may not think.
Her life mantra is that it is always better to regret the things you do than the things you don't, and after winning two trophies and raising more than £15,000 for Shelter, Sally most definitely has no regrets.
If you want to support Sally and donate to Shelter then you can do so online at justgiving.com/fundraising/getoveryourself