Posts in the ‘General’ Category

Strictly Come Dancing Bristol: the results show

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by Jess Flanagan

Last night, 11 very nervous couples performed in front of over 500 amazing supporters and raised over £20,000 for St Peter’s Hospice in the process. 

We are all incredibly proud of the approximate amount raised, and look forward to the exact figure once all the cash from last night has been counted up and added to our online sponsorship. 

As for the competition itself, it was tough. The atmosphere was electric, and the audience wonderfully supportive, but everyone pulled out all the stops and made getting through to the final almost impossible.

Glenn and I did however, wonderfully find ourselves in the final. We were joined by some new friends who wowed the audience and judges with lifts that I haven’t even seen on the BBC show; a beautiful pairing who danced beautifully and from the heart (with good reason, as St Peter’s continues to support them following the loss of a husband late last year); and a pair who have danced together for years in another discipline, but whose talent clearly shone through! 

For our first dance, we received some amazing comments, but were still humbled to find ourselves in the final competing against the talented pairs I mention above. 

We didn’t win, but we got to dance again together. For me, it’s always been about doing something together, something a little different and the fact that we have made some money for an awesome cause along the way- that was the icing on the cake! 

I’m hoping to continue to support St Peter’s, hopefully bringing my legal knowledge into it this time. 

I apologise for the lack of legal blog posts of late, but I’m hoping it may have brought a new audience, who might even hang around when normal service is resumed….? 

But for all those times that the brain needs a break, I have one piece of advice for everyone…

Keeeeeeep Dancing!!!! 

Strictly Come Dancing Bristol: nearly there!

Posted on: March 7th, 2015 by Jess Flanagan

Last Saturday was our final rehearsal. The finishing touches have been put on our numbers, costumes finished and tomorrow is the big day! 

Glenn and I have raised nearly £700 in sponsorship and £300 in ticket sales and couldn’t be more grateful to our families, friends and colleagues for their generous donations! 

Both very excited for the final tomorrow, but sad that it will all soon be over as we’ve met some really great people, all with stories to tell. I’m especially looking forward to tomorrow because we are all in it together, with rehearsals from midday and the show starting at 6, with plans to keep dancing into the night 🙂 I really, really want all of these lovely people to do well, have fun and dance their socks off! 

As for my husband and I, more than learning how to dance together, we’ve learnt how we both face competition. We’ve had to meet in the middle somewhat, but thanks to him, I will approach tomorrow as a chance to have fun and dance together and be proud of the amount of money we’ve raised for a fab cause!

Final report to follow… Keeeeeep dancing! 

Strictly Come Dancing: ‘we’re half way there!’ (And a bit about DoLS and hospices)

Posted on: January 29th, 2015 by Jess Flanagan

So we have now had 4 lessons (well 3, as we missed one to do some research by watching the real thing at the Strictly Tour in Birmingham!) and pretty much learnt both dances.

We think we have chosen our music for both numbers and this weekend we find out which dance style we will be performing as our main dance. Only if we get through to the final will we perform both.

We are, I think, pretty easy about whether we are allocated the Samba or the American Smooth. Possibly because we have chosen to dance the Samba to Uptown Funk, which is a bit different for a Samba, but an amazing song we both love. Watch this space….

And let me remind you why we are doing this: St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol is an incredible charity. It offers care, support and from what I can see, love and friendship to people with life limiting illnesses and their loved ones in and around Bristol.


Without the money it raises through sponsorship and donations it couldn’t achieve what it does.

I’ve been reading quite a bit about care in hospices recently in light of the impact Cheshire West has had on those who may be assessed as being deprived of their liberty at end of life in a hospice. There is a real conflict between not forcing a bureaucratic process on families and those in pain and wanting a peaceful death, and ensuring that Lady Hale’s purpose in changing the definition as she did is upheld to safeguard those who need it most. The Department of Health, amongst other things to reduce the application of DolS in hospices, has tried to suggest that people at end of life who might be unconscious or in so much pain don’t actually have a mental disorder and as such don’t meet the (Winte criteria for being lawfully deprived of one’s Liberty (must be of unsound mind). I’m afraid I don’t buy this and something much better than that will have to be thought of. The guidance will result in less people in hospice’s being assessed under the DoLS framework, which for some is the right thing, but what about those who really could do with Lady Hale’s’ safeguards? They fall through yet another gap…..

I’m hoping to get to speak to someone at St Peter’s about their experiences, but have had the pleasure of being contacted by a doctor in a hospice elsewhere in the country to share her experiences where The assessment really didn’t help. She is going to come and speak at our next Clarke Willmott Mental Capacity Act seminar on Medical issues in April… Watch this space.

But as I work through these ideas, for the next 5 weeks I must remember to keeeeeeep dancing!

If you’d like to help St Peter’s raise lots of money to keep them doing what they do, please sponsor us to keep us dancing!!!

Strictly Come Dancing: Lesson 1

Posted on: January 5th, 2015 by Jess Flanagan

Fun or First Place?

Saturday was the day of our first lesson. See my previous post for information about the challenge my husband and I have undertaken and why.

At 4pm on 3 January, 12 couples nervously gathered in a pretty chilly dance studio. We’ve all met once before at a meet & greet in December, where we learnt about the amazing work St Peter’s Hospice does in Bristol (both in the hospice AND in the community, see here for more on their incredible services), so it wasn’t as nerve wracking as it could have been. There are loads of friendly faces and it was good to have a bit of a chat with some of the other couples.

Most of us a) admitted to having over-indulged over Christmas and b) bought shiny new dance shoes (pic of mine below) and c) were (or at least I was) starting to size up the competition. Now, I know this is for fun and it is for a good cause (St Peter’s needs £18.000 a DAY to provide the excellent care they offer) but I am pretty competitive. My family and friends all know this too well and as soon as we mention that we are taking part to anyone (and everyone) the response has been ‘you’ve got to win!’ My husband however is keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground (unless necessary to be off the floor due to a particular dance move – more on lifts later) and reminding me this is for fun. I’m hoping we reach a happy medium. Round about the place where he decides winning IS having fun 🙂

The standard is, so far, pretty good. The steps we have learnt so far are pretty basic and there is a lot of 1, 2 ‘boom boom’ and the flourishes that I’m looking forward to learning haven’t yet been introduced. I think that is when we will see where the different abilities lie.

Saying all that, we watched some of the footage from last year’s competition and the couple that stood out were those who yes, could dance, but really did give it some. So I think personality, attack and having fun is what might actually push up the scores. Maybe both of us are actually right, after all (compromise – the essence of a good marriage).

So we now spend the week practicing and perfecting our moves for the Samba and the American Smooth. Currently, we prefer the American Smooth and will probably root for that to be our main dance.

To keep us going, please feel free to sponsor us by visiting our Just Giving page!

Keeeeeeep dancing!


Strictly Come Dancing Bristol: Pre Lesson 1

Posted on: January 3rd, 2015 by Jess Flanagan

My husband and I are en route to our first dance lesson with a group of 11 other couples. We are all about to start a rigorous 8 week training programme before competing against each other on 8 March 2015 for the St Peter’s Hospice glitter ball trophy!

The charity is our local hospice for people with life limiting illnesses and their families. But last month, my husbands nana passed away following receiving excellent care and support at the hospice local to her home.

We both love dancing and having learnt together for our wedding in 2013, thought we would get involved to raise some money for this incredible charity and have some fun in the process!

As hospices are relevant to my area of work interest, I thought I would share some of our experiences throughout the following months!

Learn more about the event here—168 and if you want to help us raise money, then please visit our Just Giving page!

Wish us luck and keeeeeep dancing!