Ruffs put on smooth show

Ruff Diamond members (left to right) Zac Healey, Aaron Staunch, Ryan Llewellyn, Jason Lund, Lewis Cope and Ryan Wilson
Ruff Diamond members (left to right) Zac Healey, Aaron Staunch, Ryan Llewellyn, Jason Lund, Lewis Cope and Ryan Wilson
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JUBILANT Ruff Diamond fans were today still buzzing after their heroes’ amazing success in a national dance contest.

And now comes the next stage – making sure the lads lift the Got To Dance crown and the £250,000 prize that goes with it.

Throughout this week, the Mail will be following the crew, their supporters and telling you how you can back the lads.

What a week this will be! The town’s very own dance crew were announced as finalists in the Sky 1 HD competition and more than 100 people packed into V Bar on Hartlepool Marina to hear the result.

Proud dad Steven Staunch, whose son Aaron dances with Ruff Diamond, had given up his ticket for the live dance semi-final to watch his other son Bradley play football for Carlisle United. Peter told the Mail: “I won’t be doing that for the dance final. “I’ll definitely be there!”

Graham Moore, whose son Ryan, 18, was in London to support Ruff Diamond said: “These lads are so talented. They can definitely win this.”

Joanne Llewellyn is the aunt of crew member Ryan Llewellyn, 18. She said she was “nervous beyond belief just watching them”.

And as she looked forward to the finals she said: “Whatever happens, they have done the town proud.”

Peter Cope was there to watch his 17-year-old son Lewis, a Ruff Diamond dancer and no stranger to the big stage. He played the part of Michael Caffrey in Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London from 2008 to 2009.

Peter said: “He has got fantastic talent but I am proud of all the Ruff Diamond lads.”

When it was Ruff Diamond’s turn to dance, the show’s panelists were blown away.

Ashley Banjo told the crew: “You are up there with the absolute best.”

Kimberly Walsh added: “That performance was relentless.”

And Aston Merrygold chipped in: “I don’t know where you get your stamina from.”

When it was time to vote and there was just eight minutes for everyone to register their support for Ruff Diamond, iPads and mobile phones appeared from nowhere and the whole pub was a voting frenzy.

Minutes later, Davina McCall announced Ruff Diamond as one of the finalists. A deafening roar filled the pub before tears of emotion ran freely.

But the final words belong to Val Armstrong, the mum of dance crew choreographer and dancer Zac Healey.

She rang the Hartlepool Mail from the live semi-final to say: “It’s the best Mother’s Day present ever.”