STRICTLY fever has inspired dancers to raise thousands of pounds for two charities.

They have had a (glitter) ball chalking up more than 150 hours in competitions supporting Help for Heroes and the Essex Air Ambulance.

The charities have held events across Essex, giving people the chance to learn ballroom and Latin.

And the standard of dancing from competitors trained at Hadleigh’s Western Dance Centre shone through as they won both events.

Olivia Sutcliffe, 15, from Hadleigh, took on the biggest challenge, training two total beginners – one for each charity dance competition – clocking up around 60 hours’ training.

But it was all worth it when she and dance partner Reggie Manus, from Hawkwell, performed a cha-cha to take the Help for Heroes dancing title at Mill Hall, in Rayleigh.

Olivia said: “I wanted the challenge of working with complete beginners to turn them into dancers and performers.

Seeing them transform has been amazing.”

The event has raised more than £5,000 for Help For Heroes, while money for Essex Air Ambulance is still being counted.

It comes as the dance centre, in High Street, Hadleigh, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Sarah Grace, from Halstead, and Petar Pavlovic, from Canvey performed an outstanding quickstep and a highlycharged rumba to take the Strictly Air Ambulance Glitter Ball trophy for 2014 at the Brentwood Centre.

Petar said: “You never know when you, or someone you know, may need the help of Essex Air Ambulance so I just wanted to give something back.”

Dancers from the WesternDance Centre have won Strictly Air Ambulance four times since the event has been running.

John Damijanovic, principal of the centre, said: “I am very proud of our amateur dancers. They have given their time to share their skills and raised much-needed funds.”