6:00pm Wednesday 13th June 2012
By Damian Fantato
SHE’S more used to hot-footing it after criminals, but for the next couple of weeks Chief Constable Sara Thornton will be working on a different kind of footwork.
The 49-year-old is taking part in the first ever Strictly Oxford dancing competition to raise £20,000 for Vale House hospice.
On Sunday, July 15, she will be stepping on to the dance floor with Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, Oxford Brookes vice-chancellor Janet Beer and the artistic director of Pegasus Theatre, Euton Daley.
Ms Thornton said: “It is hot work but it’s a good opportunity to have some fun with other people from Oxford and raise money for a good cause.
“I am not much of a dancer. I last had dancing lessons when I was 10 years old but I have a very patient partner who is very helpful.
“We have been doing the cha-cha-cha so far which is easy when you do it slowly, but the music is very quick.”
Ms Thornton became Thames Valley Police Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police in 2007 and last year was in the running to become Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
She added: “It is very good exercise. This is only my second session and it is too early to say whether I will keep it up after the competition.”
Vale House hospice was set up in Botley in 1990 to provide care for people profoundly affected by dementia. Last year it launched a £2.5m fundraising drive to secure its future.
Colin Baldwin, chairman of Oxfordshire Rugby Football Union Association, restaurateur Clinton Pugh and Sally Dicketts, principal of Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, will also be taking part.
Organiser Jane Cranston said: “This is the first year we have done this but we hope to replicate it again. Some of the participants had never danced before, but after their first session they were beaming from ear to ear.
“It is all fun and we hope they will have a good time.”
This week they were teamed up with their mentors, who are a mix of semi-professional and talented amateur dancers.
Tickets for the evening at the Town Hall, St Aldate’s, hosted by Christopher Biggins, have already sold out.
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