By ROSALIND GRIFFITHS
Folk queued for more than four hours last Saturday to get their hands on tickets for Strictly CLAN Dancing, with over 900 tickets selling in 40 minutes.
The show, which is based on the TV series, will take place at Clickimin on 4th April – the biggest event the fund-raising committee has staged in its push to raise money for a new cancer centre.
It has aroused such interest that the action taking place in the main hall will be screened live in the bowls hall. A combined audience of 1,050 is expected to see it.
Chairwoman of the fundraising committee Elaine Jamieson said: “We didn’t want to turn anyone away so that’s why we are using the bowls hall. It’s breaking new ground technically and a huge commitment but everyone’s getting behind it.”
Queues started forming at Clickimin before 10am prior to the tickets going on sale at 2pm – a phenomenon usually reserved for visiting bands – with the most expensive tiered seats in the main hall selling out first. Mrs Jamieson described support for the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal, which aims to raise £3 million in two years, as being “quite overwhelming”.
She said the dancers and musicians – the Alan Nicolson Orchestra, a seven-piece band assembled specially for the event and more used to playing Scottish dance music – have been practising furiously and they, as well as the organisers, are now “eating, sleeping and breathing” Strictly CLAN Dancing. “Everyone is keen to do their best.”
On the night the couples will perform in the main hall and endure the candid comments of the expert judging panel comprising CLAN committee member George Henderson, appropriately an honorary sheriff, dancer and health and fitness manager at Clickimin Diane Leyland, Councillor Allison Duncan and experienced ballroom dancer Wilma Halcrow.
Half the couples’ points will come from the judges, the other half from the public, who will vote by putting pound coins in buckets. Additional acts will entertain the audience during the judging process. Mrs Jamieson said: “People will be parting with their hard-earned cash and we want them to feel it’s money well spent. We want them to leave with a smile on their face and feel they have had a good night’s entertainment.”
The link to the bowls hall will be brought about thanks to the wizardry of producer David Wagstaff and his team. It will involve four cameramen filming in the main hall and switching between cameras to beam the action onto a big screen in the bowls hall. There will also be a big screen in the main hall.
Mr Wagstaff described it as a “challenge”, with half a kilometre of cable going into the roof space to cover the 150 metres between the two halls.
Twelve people will be working on the project, which will take 36 hours to put in and 12 hours to take out. He said: “It’s at the limit of what we can do.” The whole event has been sponsored by Hamish Balfour of Shetland Transport, who will be covering unavoidable costs, and this, said Mrs Jamieson, “puts us in the wonderful position of being able to bank all the money we take”.
There are still a few tickets left for the bowls hall – these are available at the CLAN shop in the Toll Clock Shopping Centre.
Meanwhile a busy and successful fundraising Easter Fair at Market House on Saturday raised a grand total of £436.46 for CLAN 1,2,3.
Organised by volunteer co-ordinator Sue Beer, the day comprised workshops, raffles, and fund-raising teas. About 100 people attended.
All the activities were free and were aimed at bairns and the young at heart, and involved all the 16 organisations based at Market House.
These included workshops for stone painting, card-making, origami, weaving and felt bag-making.
The new CLAN cancer centre in Aberdeen will comprise CLAN House, offering counselling and alternative therapies and CLAN Haven, where patients and their family members can stay.
One of the bedrooms in the new CLAN Haven is being sponsored by Sound Dance Club. Their next fund-raiser will be a charity dance on 18th April in Sound Hall with music by Da Fustra.
The club is now selling tickets for a grand raffle to be drawn at a charity dance in September – prizes sponsored by Cape DBI Industrial Services Ltd include a Sony Home Entertainment System valued at £1,500.
In Aberdeen a Lerwick woman raised more than £300 in a CLAN coffee morning.
Joan Dargie, a home economics teacher at the city’s Hazlehead Academy, said: “Being a Shetlander myself I wanted to rally some of the pupils. Everyone has been so receptive to the work CLAN does and I am delighted with the amount raised for our first fund-raiser.”
CLAN fund-raising co-ordinator Duncan Charles said he was delighted with the Shetland response to the appeal, saying the new CLAN Haven is much needed as the number of Shetlanders using it has increased.
* The CLAN total this week stands at £243,000.