South Scotland

Strictly Come Dancing: Dumfries man targets people's title

Michael Pattie and Aliona
Image caption Michael Pattie is the only Scottish competitor in the People's Strictly programme

Retired Dumfries businessman Michael Pattie is among the contenders hoping to take the title in The People's Strictly for Comic Relief.

He is dancing with professional partner Aliona Vilani.

Six competitors have been selected for their "tireless and selfless work" to change "so many lives for the better".

Mr Pattie, 57, has raised more than £300,000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation since losing his 13-year-old son David to the disease in 1999.

The majority of the money has been raised through an idea that came to him in front of the TV 10 years ago - putting on local Strictly Come Dancing events.

These fundraisers, called Strictly for Charity have been running for a decade and, as well as generating funds, have provided a vehicle for the Dumfries community to come together.

Image caption The winners of The People's Strictly will be announced on Comic Relief Night

Mr Pattie also leads outreach and awareness events; speaking at local schools and parent toddler groups to teach people the meningitis symptoms to look out for.

MRF Scotland's manager Mary Millar said: "Michael's work has saved lives and he is the best fundraiser we have ever had in Scotland.

"We are incredibly grateful to him."

In 2013, he was named Scottish Charity Champion.

Regarding his motivation to dedicate his life to fundraising and spreading awareness of meningitis, he said: "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; life is about learning to dance in the rain."

The People's Strictly will run over four weeks with the Dumfries man being one of three dancers being introduced to viewers in episode one on BBC One next week.

Three other competitors will feature the following week.

Episode three will see their training continue before a final episode when they will take to the dance floor in a bid to impress judges and viewers.

The results will be broadcast live on Comic Relief Night on BBC One, Friday 13 March.

The money raised from the show will be spent helping to change the lives of poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK and across Africa.

Image caption Aliona Vilani danced with Gregg Wallace in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing

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