A DANCING pair have scooped their fourth trophy in a row in their category.
Sarah Banks, 30, and her partner Matthew Waddington, 29, have been crowned champions once more at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
The couple beat contenders from across the country in the freestyle and rock and roll pairs in the 26 to 35 years category.
The six best couples from each region are selected to go to the finals in Blackpool. Sarah and Matthew were one of six selected from the north east region.
At the Winter Gardens they made their way through the rounds before a nerve-wracking final, with adjudicators making their way round the dancefloor marking their moves.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” said Matthew, who still has pre-performance nerves before every competition.
They began dancing together when they were 15, but took a break a few years later.
A chance meeting in Halifax between the pair nine years ago meant they took to the dancefloor again and took them all the way to the top.
Sarah who works as a senior project manager at Tigerprint, and is from Claremount pairs up with Matthew from Mixenden.
“I just love doing it. It’s a good form of exercise, I love the people I dance with and it’s a great way of taking your mind off things after work and going and having a good laugh,” she said.
The pair have weekly classes at Caspers Freestyle Dancing School run by Claire Lambert at Waring Green Community Centre, Brighouse, and also compete in the adult team. Matthew also competes in rock and roll classes with a different partner. To get them up to competition standard, their practices last up to six hours every Tuesday night.
He originally started out as a ballroom Latin dancer before moving into freestyle.
He said their winning formula is due to their friendship. “We’ve known each other for so long, we just gel. We’re like brother and sister,” he said.
They say the support of their partners and Matthew’s two children helps spur them on.