Article summary: PETA Engineering Lecturer Roger Pearce is taking part in Rowans Does Strictly - a dancing competition being hosted by the Rowans Hospice as part of their continual fundraising programme.
As a charity, the Rowans, which is located in Purbrook, relies completely on donations and fundraising events to bring money into the Hospice for the essential work they do. The Rowans is renowned for the exceptional care they provide to those with life-limiting illnesses or those needing end of life care, as well as respite care for carers of terminally ill loved ones.
It costs £7.2 million each year to deliver the outstanding care that the Rowans provides for their patients. 90% of that total is raised by people organising and running events in the local community. This money goes back into the Hospice to provide a range of care services including In-Patient Care, Hospice at Home, Living Well Centre and Bereavement support for both adults and children.
Rowans Does Strictly, which is scheduled to take place on 22 January 2022 at Portsmouth Guildhall, is one of the many events that takes place to raise money every year. The money from the ticket sales, as well as any donations, will all go to the Hospice.
Roger, who sadly lost his wife Sarah to cancer in 2018, decided that he wanted to help fundraise for the Rowans after they gave her the most amazing care in her final days.
He said: “I witnessed first hand the dedication, compassion, professionalism, and most of all, humanity the staff give, which enabled Sarah to have dignity in her last days. Rowans is the place where angels work everyday and I was determined to help them in any way possible.”
“In 2018 I ran the Great South Run in support and raised £430. In 2019 I was injured and unable to run, however, I noticed that they were after volunteers to do Rowans Does Strictly and I thought ‘why not?’. I was certain with my gifted two left feet and no musicality that I would not be selected, however, on the night of the auditions I was 1 of 8 males and they needed 12, so my fate was sealed!”
Within two weeks Roger found out he would be dancing the Quick Step and the Paso Doble and the show was scheduled for May 2020. The training was going well, but then COVID hit and everything stopped and went into lockdown, meaning Strictly was put on hold.
When restrictions were relaxed mid 2021, the event was rescheduled. The dancers have been training twice a week, with the training being led by Keal School of Dancing and Scarlett Rose School of Dance. David Keal and Beverley Craig have very kindly donated their time to Rowans Hospice as part of the event.
On the night, the dancing exhibited by the 19 contestants will be judged by TV presenter Fred Dineage, Portsmouth-based actress Bessie Cursons, who runs her own Theatre & Dance Academy, and a mystery third judge.
Roger added: “I’ve purchased some sequined shirts and I’m lucky to have the support of my family, friends, work colleagues and even my learners who have all brought tickets and have said they’ll throw roses at my partner and I on the night!”
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