As a reporter, I’ve been involved in my fair share of weird and wonderful activities, writes Tom Cotterill.
But dancing certainly isn’t one of them – and for good reason, I’m rubbish at it. I have all the grace and elegance of Strictly legends Ann Widdecombe and John Sergeant, minus all their glittery costumes, of course.
So you could understand why, when Littlehampton’s mayor and fund-raiser extraordinaire, Emma Neno challenged me to take part in her two-hour long charity Zumba event, on Saturday (January 12), I didn’t instantly leap at the prospect.
But after some gentle persuasion from Emma, I caved in and agreed to join the action, at the River Beach Primary School, in York Road – and, shockingly, I had a brilliant time!
Even the relentless rain couldn’t dampen the upbeat atmosphere of the day, which generated an impressive £800 for the mayor’s two chosen charities, Cancerwise and Home-Start Arun.
About 45 people took part in the session led by expert dance instructor, Sally Dobson, of Zumba with Sally.
It was intense and there was no time to rest as Sally took us through a series of high-tempo, Latin-themed dance routines that had everyone panting for breath.
With sweat freely flowing down many flushed faces and the dancing finished, we took part in a raffle packed with prizes all donated by various businesses and people across the town.
Emma said the day had brought her already record-breaking total up to around £17,000.
And with around four more months left in office, she looks well on course to break her £20,000 target.
“Saturday totally smashed what I thought we would raise. I couldn’t believe it,” admitted a jubilant Emma.
“I’m certainly not a regular at Zumba but I try to do things that people will enjoy doing.
“I’ve done it a couple of times before, last year. I was really proud that my legs weren’t aching on Sunday!”
She added: “It was a joint celebration because it was Sally’s first anniversary as well.”
Emma is planning another session at the Southfields Jubilee Centre, on Southfields Recreation Ground, in April.
As for me, I’ll certainly try to take part, but I fear I will have to practise some dance moves so I don’t look quite as pathetic...