VIDEO: It’s a cha-cha-charity event!

WHAT’S all this then!

Police and fire crews are going head to head in a challenge with a difference – by taking to the dance floor.

Janice Forbes (sitting centre) from Hartlepool and District Hospice with dance teacher Diane Bell (sitting left) and Carol Hammond (sitting right) with strictly dancers (rear left to right) Andy Bell (police officer), Sarah Gillespie (police officer), Michael Ross (firefighter) and Paul Fergusson (firefighter) (front left to right) Samantha Miley (firefighter team) and Dave Williamson (police officer)

Janice Forbes (sitting centre) from Hartlepool and District Hospice with dance teacher Diane Bell (sitting left) and Carol Hammond (sitting right) with strictly dancers (rear left to right) Andy Bell (police officer), Sarah Gillespie (police officer), Michael Ross (firefighter) and Paul Fergusson (firefighter) (front left to right) Samantha Miley (firefighter team) and Dave Williamson (police officer)

Five police officers and five fire crew from the Hartlepool and Billingham areas are learning how to do the cha cha, waltz, salsa and quickstep.

Then, on Friday, November 29, they will all don suits, bow ties and sequinned dresses and strut their stuff on the dance floor in the sponsored challenge which will raise money for Hartlepool and District Hospice.

The challenge is being planned by dance school owner Carol Hammond, who runs the Carol Hammond Dance Studio, in Dalton Street, and it will follow a similar pattern to the Strictly Coming Dancing format on BBC television.

Five fire crew from a watch in Billingham, and five police officers from stations across the Tees Valley, will each be partnered with expert dancers from Carol’s studio.

Between now and dance night, the novices will be taught by their partners.

On November 29 they will perform their new routines in front of a panel of judges. The team with the highest marks will be awarded a gold cup.

Fireman Michael Ross, 33, who is based at Billingham and lives in Hartlepool, said: “At the end of my first 40-minute dance session, I was soaked in sweat. You don’t realise how hard it is until you do.

“I have started watching Strictly on television since starting this and I have the greatest respect for those people.”

On a night of great entertainment, there’s lots of other attractions to enjoy as well.

Carol’s daughter, Adele Jang Don, and her South Korean husband, Jang SeHyoung Don, will give a demonstration of their skills. They are the UK Open 10 dance champions and Professional Showdance European finalists.

There will also be a raffle, a tombola, and a chance for the audience to join in with dancing as well.

Carol said: “I have done these sorts of events before and they are great nights.”

She is hoping to raise between £2,000 and £3,000 for Hartlepool and District Hospice from the proceeds on the night.

Carol explained how the idea came together: “One of the firemen has a daughter who comes to my school.

“He has got his watch involved and we’ve got the police as well from different stations. The police have two ladies in their team and the fire brigade have one woman.

“Everyone is now training very hard. It can be really difficult because they have got to fit in dancing with their shifts.”

The fun starts at 7pm on dance night and Carol added: “We have got qualified scrutineers to do the judging and we are hoping to fill the Borough Hall.

“It would be great if we could do that. In the past these events have been a sell out - a fabulous fun evening to remember.”

Hospice community fundraiser Janice Forbes said: “I think it is fantastic that Carol has organised this, especially as it will be a big fundraiser on us and close to Christmas.”

Tickets are £13 and they are available either from Carol’s studio or from the hospice.