Dublin, 12 Jan 2016
After joking with friends that he’d enter his local community’s ‘Strictly Dancing’ competition if the money raised went to charity, Ian Bailey soon found himself performing in front of around 800 guests.
“The dancing competition has been running for three years in Portmarnock and for the most recent competition we chose a charity that we’ve all been affected by which is St Francis Hospice, just north of Dublin. It provides specialist palliative care services to terminally ill patients and their families,” Bailey explains.
As a keen golfer and soccer player, dancing certainly didn’t come naturally to Bailey but after ten weeks of professional training with 19 other competitors, including daily training in the three weeks leading up to competition night, he was ready to perform in the highly anticipated dance-off at Portmarnock’s community centre.
Bailey grew up in the coastal community of Portmarnock, in North County Dublin, and recently started his working career in Macquarie’s Dublin office in a client manager support role.
“We call Portmanock the bubble as everyone knows everyone. Most of the community were at the show and had some connection to the charity. Most people, including my family, were shocked that I put my hand up to dance as it’s not something they expected of me.”
Ten couples competed to be crowned Strictly Dancing Champions 2015 at the amateur dance event, performing as a group first and then as couples in a jive, charlestown, salsa, tango or freestyle routine.
Bailey loved the excitement of the event: “We were all so nervous but once we were on stage we didn’t care. It was a professional set up and with our costumes and fake tans we looked the part!”
More than €8,000 was raised for St Francis Hospice as part of the event, including Macquarie Group Foundation matching.
“When I got off stage I was absolutely beaming. Our performance was the best we had ever danced and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”
Bailey is now looking for his next charity challenge - fake tan optional.
Image caption: Ian Bailey and his dance partner, Rachel Meehan, competed in Portmarnock’s Strictly Dancing competition, taking out second place.