Anchor were delighted to have legendary television and radio broadcaster Gloria Hunniford as special guest judge at the final of our Strictly Dancing competition at West Hall care home last week.

After the glitzy finale, which saw top prizes go to Jean Twyman and Craig Young from Orchard Court (Lingfield); Eric and Janice Stevens from Prospect Place (Epsom) and Faith Cordy and Fred Pinder from St Clements Court (Eastbourne), Gloria gave Anchor this very special interview.

Why are you visiting West Hall care home?
Anchor hosted its Strictly Dancing Final here. Hundreds of people have got involved from across Anchor housing and care homes to hold this fantastic dance competition at West Hall. The final has been so joyful, very uplifting, the music is wonderful and the camaraderie is great. I love that there are so many activities taking place in Anchor homes.  
 
You were a former contestant on the BBC1 prime time show, Strictly Come Dancing, did you enjoy it?
It was one the best things I ever did. It was only a year after my daughter, Caron, died and at the time I thought I’d never smile again.  Losing a child is devastating and makes you feel guilty to have fun. Going on the show was a really good release for me and gave me a reason to smile and laugh again. Being physical was good for me too; I lost a stone in weight.  Dancing is one of the best forms of exercise.

Any thoughts on who could win Strictly this year?
I think Natalie Gumede, Abbey Clancy and Sophie Ellis-Bextor are all doing really well. I think one of the girls will clinch it this year.

What do you think about community events like the Anchor Strictly Dance Competition?
I was in When I’m 65, a BBC One documentary last year, during which I had to live in care home and I found it very disconcerting. There was nothing for people to do and I was really disappointed that there was only one poetry class to attend every three weeks. I think it’s great that Anchor holds events like this and regular activity for people to join if they want to. I was really pleasantly surprised to find out that every day people living at West Hall can get involved in activities such as yoga, dance, playing cards and cinema or theatre trips. It’s fantastic.

How do you stay active?
My work keeps me active. I have long days filming and often start at 6am and get home at 10pm. I do enjoy walking my dogs and have a static bike in front of the TV and sometimes ride my bike whilst watching the news.

What are your thoughts on West Hall care home?
It’s sensational. The building is fantastic and the atmosphere is great, I can understand why people want to live here. I’m really impressed by the activity that is hosted here.

Anchor is calling for a Minister for Older People to help prepare for the ageing demographic. Do you think this would help older people’s voices to be heard?
Yes I think it would. The government does not understand the day to day issues older people face, everything from loneliness to lack of heating or food. We are not as good as other countries are at respecting our older family members. In other communities older people have a right of play in the community; their opinion is asked for and revered. Having a Minister for Older People would bring back older people from the sidelines. I really admire what Anchor is doing in its call for a Minister for Older People.

What are you up to at the moment?
I’m quite busy with my TV work. We are filming the next series of Rip Off Britain, Rip Off Food and Rip Off Holidays. I am also on the One Show and This Morning, so am keeping myself busy.

Find out more about Anchor's Strictly Dancing final at West Hall care home.

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