Dove House Hospice's Strictly Learn To Dance final takes place tonight
WHEN an article asking for men to whirl women round the dancefloor appeared in the Mail, Ian Jackson could not resist.
He may be 69 and claims he has never danced in his life, but now, the plucky pensioner has mastered the rumba, quickstep and even the Harlem Shake.
Ian, of east Hull, is one of ten couples taking part in Dove House Hospice's Strictly Learn To Dance final tonight.
Ian said: "The Mail had a little article in saying the hospice needed men to put on their dance shoes because there were ladies waiting.
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"So I decided not to keep the ladies waiting any longer."
Ian has been partnered with Linda Wilson and, together, they will compete against nine other couples at Hull City Hall tonight.
The duo have been rehearsing the two numbers they will be performing in front of the sell-out audience – a quick step to Pencil Full Of Lead by Paolo Nutini and a rumba to Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey.
They have been rehearsing since January.
Ian said: "I think we will be the novelty couple of the night.
"I'm still confused by all the steps now.
"We'll be playing it for laughs, rather than taking ourselves seriously.
"As they say in showbiz, it'll be alright on the night."
Ian lives in a Pickering and Ferens Homes – a charity for over-60s that has 1,200 properties in the region.
He has had to fit his dance training in between his busy life as one of the organisation's resident committee and forum members.
The former British Gas worker said: "I've never danced before in my life.
"I did a bit about 48 years ago, but nothing like this.
"But now, I've been learning the rumba and quickstep and all the Strictly contestants also did a Harlem Shake.
"The video is on YouTube and it is hilarious – I'm the one at the front in the pink tutu.
"My great-nieces have also been teaching me Gangnam Style – I'm learning all the modern moves."
All the contestants will be performing at Hull City Hall from 7.15pm tonight.
They have been asked to sell tickets and raise sponsorship for taking part.
Ian has raised about £640 for the east Hull hospice.
Amanda Ashburner, fundraising co-ordinator for Dove House Hospice, said: "After ten weeks of gruelling training, anticipation and nerves, the grand finale is an evening of dancing, bright lights and lots of dazzling costumes.
"Our contestants have dedicated so much time and effort in these leading weeks, the finale will be an evening they will be proud to perform at."
Ian says he is looking forward to dressing in his coat tails for the quickstep and then his gold shirt and flared trousers for the rumba.
His great-nieces Keira Morgan, eight, and Cerys Morgan, four, will be proudly watching on in the audience.
Ian said: "Cerys and Keira are also presenting flowers to the contestants, so they are excited too.
"I'm not nervous about the night – it'll just be a good chuckle."
Visit www.thisishull.co.uk to see a video of the Strictly Learn To Dance contestants doing the Harlem Shake.