Strictly Come Dancing star Robin Windsor was “blown away” by 16 dancers who gave a dazzling ballroom performance to raise money for North London Hospice.
After weeks of training, eight couples dressed up to the nines as they took to the stage to showcase their fancy footwork at the Millfield Theatre in Edmonton on Saturday.
But as if dancing in front of more than 300 people was not daunting enough, the couple’s every move was scrutinised by a panel of judges including special guest, Robin Windsor.
Everyone gave it their all, but it was Till Pini, 59, and Lilian Taibi, 46, who stole the show.
The crowd went wild as soon as Till set foot on the stage in his Elvis Presley style wig, and Lilian in her 1950s red and black polka-dot skirt.
They performed a fun-loving jive to Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite, scoring them three 10s and one eight from the judges.
Till and Lilian were announced the worthy winners and awarded their very own glitter ball trophy.
Till, who lives in Woodside Park and runs an alarm company in East Finchley, said: “I’m shocked – I can’t believe we’ve won it.
“It was nerve-wracking performing on stage but I’d said to Lilian let’s just go out and have some fun – if something goes wrong, it doesn’t matter. And that’s what we did.
“It’s been a great experience for a very worthy cause.”
Lilian, a bank officer from North Finchley, said: “I’ve never won anything before. It’s amazing. It’s been a fantastic experience, we’ve had great support throughout and made some great friends.”
Telling the Times and Independent Series why he was rooting for the pair to win, Robin Windsor said: “I absolutely loved them – they were pure entertainment. As Till walked onto the stage I just knew it would be good.
"It was a really fun routine, they made sure everyone had a good time and really embodied what the whole thing was about.
“The hospice is a great place where people can get amazing care, and for the community to get together and put on an evening like this to show their support is just great.”
To the delight of the crowd, Robin showed off some of his own moves with a little help from Dancing Strictly contestant, Maria McGrath.
Twenty-four-year-old Darius Belu and his dance partner Andriana Armodorou, 26, were awarded second place for their romantic salsa, and in joint third was 1940s jive masters Bob Holford, 68, and Moira Hamill, 57, and Darren Kevis, 44, and Larena Walker, 47, who performed an energetic cha cha to Jennifer Lopez’s Let’s Get Loud.
The event, which was sponsored by the Times and Independent Series, raised more than £14,000 for the hospice which supports people with life-limiting illnesses.
Judi Guy, fundraising manager at the hospice, said: “The hospice is an absolutely wonderful place to be. It makes people feel safe and gives them their own choices. But we couldn’t do it without the help of your donations.
“The North London Hospice relies on donations to raise 77 per cent of the £7million that’s needed to run the hospice.”