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'Strictly Inverness is terrifying but I am loving it'

By Andrew Dixon

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Rachel Wood.
Rachel Wood.

A Strictly Inverness dancer is thriving by pushing herself to do new things.

Rachel Wood is among the 32 rookie dancers in the annual charity contest in aid of organisers and hosts Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre.

She signed up in a bid to challenge herself and is already looking at more ways to expand her boundaries.

"Over the past few years I have challenged myself to overcome fears and this has helped me thrive," said the 26-year-old from Inverness.

"Learning to swim at 24 has now got me swimming in lochs. Hosting tours and tastings in large crowds after being a very shy girl growing up and now also singing in a public setting – after pushing myself to do all of these things I feel that life gets better and better!

"Strictly is next on my list of things to do that are terrifying but I am loving it and cannot wait to perform.

"Looking ahead, I’d maybe even think about being brave enough to do Ness Factor [annual singing contest for the hospice]."

She has been keen to do Strictly Inverness for years, especially since her mum Mary took home the 'most entertaining prize' at the event nine years ago.

Rachel has also volunteered at the event in the past, when she was an ice skater with the Inverness Synchronised Skating Club.

Partnered with Reece Ross, from Inverness, they are learning to dance an Argentine tango and a musical theatre number, as well as a group dance ahead of showtime in May and believes they will be friends for life.

Rachel Wood and Reece Ross. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Rachel Wood and Reece Ross. Picture: Callum Mackay..

They are also fundraising as part of the contest, with a quiz night taking place at Glen Ord Distillery tomorrow.

"It'll be a fun-filled evening with some surprises," said Rachel, who is an events and experience manager at The Singleton. "The quiz will be hosted by the wonderful Keith Miller, lead guide at The Singleton, who you will often see hosting our VIP distillery guests. The prize for the winning team is £200 with lots of other prizes and games to take part in.

"I have an amazing job working with the best teams. I love whisky and getting to engage with a whole host of different people. The new brand home is so beautiful and I feel very lucky to spend my working days in such a space."

Other planned fundraising activities include a race night at Caledonian Thistle Social Club on March 16, a Hospice Cup football match on March 17 at Millburn Academy in Inverness, an ice disco at the ice centre on March 23 and a ceilidh at Green Hall in Smithton on April 6.

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