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Edel Smyth. Photograph by John Kelly.

Save the last dance for Strictly

THE final Strictly Come Dancing will take place in the Armada Hotel on Saturday, November 22 and again the following Saturday, November 29.

This will represent the fourth staging of the event, which raises money for the provision of the building of house in Cherven, Belarus, for young adults who have left the nearby orphanage.

Primary organiser, Edel Smith has been involved in helping the Cherven orphans for many years. This final series of Strictly will result in the finishing touches on the house in Belarus.

Ten couples have dedicated their time and energy over the past few months to prepare for Strictly, while Christina Cawte has given her time and energy over the past four years in helping the dancers to get ready.

“She is such a brilliant person, who strives so hard to bring out the best in all our couples. Christina is an amazing choreographer, who should be so proud of what she has accomplished. Charlie Killeen and Marianne Hackney are our MCs for the night,” Edel Smith explained.

“I get emotional just thinking about how we have come this far. Looking back on a project Clohanes National School did, I see that it was a dream I had as far back as then. To actually see it happening and knowing that the people of West Clare are responsible for it, I am so grateful,” Edel said.

“When I think back to 2005, when we installed the multisensory room in the orphanage, I remember how excited and happy all the children and adults were to see this happening. I can’t begin to imagine how excited and grateful the young adults will be to be given their own house.

“I have told this story so many times but it will always be a memory I will never forget. We were giving out toiletries in an adult orphanage a few years ago and it was just basic things, which we all take for granted, including shampoo, toothpaste, soap. We were met with such excitement from all the young adults. When everything was handed out, a girl came up to me. She had been late arriving and, when I looked in the bag, there was just one bar of soap left. I felt so bad handing this over to her, with nothing else to offer her, but the smile and the hug she gave me I’ll never forget because I thought to myself, you shouldn’t have to be this grateful for a bar of soap. But she was and I will never forget that moment,” the Carrigaholt teacher reflected.

“These children and adults, who have grown up with nothing, teach me something every time I meet them. They show us that love and kindness are more important than any possessions. They teach us humility. I am in awe of them every time I visit. Some of them, their bodies don’t work that well and they have been abandoned by the very people who are supposed to love them unconditionally but because they know that we love them and keep coming back to them, they are happy with that. They make you smile and cry for that very reason, that they are grateful for everything you can bring and give them. But the genuine truth is they just want to know that someone cares, that someone loves them enough to come and see them,” Edel has found.
Peter O’Connell

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