Strictly Worcestershire's never ending story
Sometimes in life the journey is more important than reaching the destination – and that’s how is view Strictly Worcestershire.
As former journalists, we know how to spin a good yarn at Chris Green Media. It is in our blood, and each year Strictly Worcestershire creates its own narrative which we’re happy to tell.
Bigger, better and bolder than ever, SW4 promises to be no exception, with lots of new features including glamourous showgirls and an exclusive VIP area.
Planning began last summer. Minutes, in fact, after SW3 ended when co-producer Granville Orange and I pondered the possibly of attracting a big-name MC.
My old Radio 5 Live sparring partner, Hagley-born Worcestershire boy Adrian Chiles sprang to mind. By August, Adrian was on board alongside two new chosen cancer charities, Rory the Robot and Worcestershire Prostate Cancer Awareness Group.
The magnificent drp were immediately back to stage SW4, accompanied by A1 Recruitment Solutions, thanks to the generosity of founder Pam Easen, who was primary sponsor of SW3 with H1 Healthcare. Where else would we – could we – host SW4? It had to be the iconic Chateau Impney.
Our inimitable judges are back too – Lord Digby Jones, ITV’s Bob Warman and Worcestershire’s dance queen Katie Love, alongside new judge and choreographer Jennifer Bennett Price.
And so to the dancers…
It’s fair to say that finding nine contestant couples was the biggest perceived challenge during the event’s inception. Pudding proven three times over, by SW4 Granville and co-producer Julia Williams were spoilt for choice – facing an arduous early autumn challenge to narrow the contestants down to just 10 couples.
While the dancers literally prepared to put their best feet forward, in the process beginning their own personal Strictly Worcestershire stories, the SW4 team set forth selling tables and tickets, finding sponsors and gathering other supporters.
Strictly is a marathon not a sprint - a never ending story that weaves a string of a tales as each event progresses culminating in a glorious evening in late May.
The beating heart of our communications is my wife Teresa, who tirelessly keeps the social media pot boiling with daily updates. In the deep midwinter, the heady days of May can seem a long way off – but we always keep our eyes on the prize. Yes it is about fun – but also fund-raising.
This year, Julie and Granville have set clear fundraising targets and are unashamedly exploiting every feasible asset and angle – including an advanced event auction to accompany a silent auction on the night. We’ll even be able to provide a final fundraising total on stage at the end of the SW4 evening on May 25.
Much of the organisation now seems routine to Teresa and I, as we’ve managed media and communications for Strictly Worcestershire since it began.
In the early days, we didn’t even know if we have a ‘flyer’ on our hands. Would anyone want to dance and would the good folk of Worcestershire pay to watch? Crucially, could we raise enough charitable funds to make it worthwhile? The overwhelming answer each year has been ‘yes’.
It all leads to a brilliant, fabulously glamorous evening on May 25. By then, the personal stories of all involved will be told and their journeys nearly complete.
The pain, sweat and tears of the dancers will seem a distant memory replaced by…short term fear and panic (sorry, guys!) – and the proof will be, as ever, in the dancing – with the audience cheering enthusiastically, as ever.
So how can you help? Easy. Get involved. Support us, sponsor something, buy tickets or, preferably, a table (we still have a few left), and most importantly give, give, give to our good causes.
Oh, and make sure you are there on May 25 for the final page of SW4 story. The script is yet to be written…
Chris Green, is managing partner of Chris Green Media, a Worcestershire-based media and communications company which aims to inspire people to communicate better and whose services include media training, PR, publishing, communications coaching and creative design, photography and video.