'Strictly Come Dancing' organisers swap their dancing shoes for walking boots for charity!

WITH fundraising revenue heavily curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, charities are increasingly feeling the strain.

In a bid to lessen that burden, the organisers of the town's biggest annual fundraiser - Strictly Come Dancing - have embarked on a fundraising drive to raise some much-needed funds for charities.

The showpiece event, which traditionally takes place over a weekend in December, cannot go ahead this year due to the pandemic.

However, as always, the 'Strictly by M Dancin' team and ‘Spirit of NI’ award winners, husband and wife, Paul and Rosemarie Mullen alongside their daughter, Sarah Jane, have not been found wanting when it comes to helping local charities.

In the absence of the annual showpiece at St Patrick's Hall, they have instead found a new way of channelling their collective energies into raising money.

Last month, a series of socially distanced sponsored walks from Patrick Street up Knockavoe Mountain took place.

Prior to this, a big draw took place in September with a number of prizes up for grabs. Another draw is arranged for this month.

Speaking from the peak of Knockavoe, Paul explained: "We are doing this for charity; all the charities that are local in the town and who are suffering with no money due to COVID. We are trying to get some money raised for them.

"We would normally be preparing our Strictly show at this time of the year when we would normally be able to raise tens of thousands of pounds.

"We can't do it this year with social distancing and the current restrictions that are on us so we are trying to do a couple of other bits of fundraising throughout the couple of months leading up to our normal date in December."

Encouraging the public to dig deep in support of the fundraising, Paul said all donations are gratefully received and will all go to a good cause.

"If anyone wants to throw us a few more quid, look us up on our Facebook page - Strictly by M Dancin'.

"The money is staying local in these hard times. Charities need help more than ever.

"So, any pounds or pennies you have, we'll be very happy to take them.

"Every penny counts...Thanks for all your support so far," he added.

Charities benefitting include Women's Aid, Foyle Hospice, Alzheimer's Society, Marie Cure, Care for the Elderly Strabane, the Koram Centre, Strabane and others.

You can donate to the causes by logging on to https://www.paypal.me/sjmullen

Make sure to select the family and friends payment option.

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