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A dress to thrill


Find out how super-fan Susan McFarlane took home a little bit of sparkle and raised money for a great cause on a Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise on Britannia

Pixie Lott dances with Trent Whiddon on Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Pixie Lott wears the dress Susan McFarlane won

Auctions are always fun, but the Macmillan Cancer Support fundraising event on board Britannia was particularly exciting for Strictly Come Dancing fan Susan McFarlane. She had her eye on the last lot of the day – the fabulous little pink, red and black dress worn by Pixie Lott in the 2014 series of the show – and she was prepared to raise the stakes in order to get it.


After a tense ding-dong, overseen by auction master and Entertainment Manager Neil Oliver, Susan offers £500. Going once, going twice… the dress is hers! ‘Macmillan nurses looked after my husband Kevin’s dad when he was ill,’ explains Susan. ‘It’s a wonderful cause and it means a great deal to us, so I was happy to go high to get the dress. I’m a huge fan of the show and I loved Pixie Lott’s performances. She just looked as if she was really enjoying herself.’


As the dress is brought over to Susan for inspection, she reflects that this is the cherry on top of an amazing cruise. ‘I’ve just loved the Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise,’ she confirms. ‘We booked it especially as I’m a huge fan of the show. I’ve got two left feet, so don’t actually join in the dancing, but it’s wonderful to experience something like this and get so up close and personal with the dancing stars and dresses. We dropped in to the audience with Kevin and Karen Clifton, Aljaž Skorjanec and Janette Manrara and, obviously, we’ve watched the amazing shows that the professionals put on. The dress displays have been fantastic, too.’


Susan and her husband believe Britannia is the perfect backdrop to the Strictly action. ‘It’s a beautiful ship, just gorgeous. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring all over. We’ve been to the Sunset Bar a number of times, and the Crow’s Nest. We’ve had afternoon tea at The Epicurean and, of course, eaten amazing food at the restaurants. Sindhu and The Beach House are wonderful.’


Susan’s husband chips in that they’ve also made a point of hitting the walking track. ‘We walk four miles each morning,’ says Susan. ‘You really need to with so much good food available. It’s lovely and quiet at 7.30 in the morning – a good way to start the day.’


The McFarlanes have cruised before, but this is their first time sailing with P&O Cruises and they’re hugely impressed by their experience. ‘I’d definitely book to come back on Britannia,’ says Susan, who loves the ship’s wonderful facilities and the fun atmosphere surrounding the Strictly events. ‘If you’re a Strictly fan, this is absolutely worth it. I definitely recommend it.’


In the meantime, Susan is planning where to put her sparkly Pixie Lott dress. ‘I’m going to frame it and put it up among all the football jerseys,’ she says. ‘The house is full of golfing and football memorabilia, so this will be the first woman’s touch.’


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