A young performer from Larbert and her dancing partner have won the first ever ‘Strictly Kids’ competition, in aid of the STV Children’s Appeal.
Hazel Craig (9), a member of Broadway School of Performing Arts in Falkirk and Jayden Da Silva (7), from Glasgow were among 46 youngsters chosen from over 600 entrants to compete in the contest, ran by Bluestar Productions.
The glittering grand finale was held at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Glasgow where Hazel and Jaden danced their way to victory in the junior age section, each taking home a winner’s trophy.
Hazel’s proud mum, Rachel (28) said: “Hazel attends Broadway School of performing arts in Falkirk and has been dancing for some time but Jayden, who she was coupled up with had never actually danced before!
“Despite that and the fact they had never actually met before they made a good team and danced really well together.
“We met up with his family a few times so they could practice in the run up to the final and both kids worked really hard.
“Hazel was actually also starring in ‘Nativity! the Musical’ at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh so it was a lot of work for her but she never complained and really enjoyed every stage of the competition.
“She is a natural performer and knows already that she wants to a career in musical theatre when she’s older.
“On the day of the final Hazel and Jayden had to do a dance-off and did a jive to Proud Mary which was just brilliant and were scored highly by the judges, just like in the real Strictly final.
“When their names were called as the winners they were so shocked but so excited too and couldn’t stop smiling and they both got a glitterball trophy each to take home – I could not have been more proud.
“We found out later that the event had helped raise more than £14,000 for the kid’s appeal, which is just fantastic.”
Official Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas sent all of the Strictly Kids contestants a special message on the day of the final wishing them all the best.
Carron Primary School pupil, Hazel won’t be hanging her dancing shoes up for long, however as she will soon be starring in ‘Hairspray’ at Falkirk Town Hall, which is being run by Central Theatre Productions.
The STV Children’s Appeal was launched in 2011 by The Hunter Foundation and STV to raise funds and to help make a difference to those who need it most, by providing practical help like providing food and warm clothes, creating opportunities for training and employability and enabling social and emotional support.
In the last eight years more than £19 million has been raised, allowing for 1102 awards to be made across Scotland, providing much needed support to over 79,000 children.
The ‘Strictly Kids’ contest was so successful that organisers have already started planning a second event for next year with the first auditions scheduled to take place in Glasgow in February 2019.
Interested applicants can enter via www.bluestarproductions.co.uk