A SPRIGHTLY pensioner has proven age is no barrier to getting up on the dancefloor.

Alex Glass, 81, took home the glitterball at the St Vincent’s Hospice Strictly Come Prancing event with his partner Lynn Ferguson, making him the oldest ever contestant to win the trophy in its eight-year run.

The Brookfield man, who danced the Argentine tango, has gone on an emotional journey with the Howwood hospice after staff cared for his late wife Mari, who died following a cancer battle in 2010.

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Alex found it difficult to return to the hospice or take part in any of its support activities but wanted to thank staff for their help, so he regularly dropped off flowers for them, without indicating where they had come from.

That left the fundraising team wondering who ‘the flower man’ could be.

Eventually, they caught Alex in the act – and managed to persuade him to take part in the Strictly Come Prancing contest.

Alex said: “For a long time, I avoided the get togethers the hospice had organised. I did eventually start to take up flowers but I always got away as quickly as possible.

The Gazette: Dance contest winners Alex and Lynn were dressed to impressDance contest winners Alex and Lynn were dressed to impress

“When I started doing this dance challenge, my whole attitude to the hospice completely changed. I was so impressed by all the hard work they put in and, when I realised how much money they have to raise to keep it going, I had to help.

“It was wonderful to win and I am still on cloud nine, mainly because most of the contestants were about half my age, if not younger.

“I think I’ve proven age should not be a disincentive.”

Grandfather-of-three Alex make an effort to stay active, despite his advancing years.

He is involved with Johnstone-based charity Strathclyde Teen Challenge, which helps young people with addiction, and enjoys walking five days a week.

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Alex took up tango lessons shortly before his 80th birthday, after deciding to learn some dance skills in order to surprise his party guests.

He added: “Dancing has broadened my social life. Lynn is a lovely lady and we get on well.”

This year’s Strictly Come Prancing event raised £57,500, with organisers already looking for contestants for the 2020 compeition.

For more information, send an email to info@svh.co.uk.

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