Our new columnist: Monkey’s business - Strictly was spectacular

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I was born in Essex but I grew up in Sandal, Wakefield. I spent five years working with Mike Oldfield in Ibiza and then ended up in London working as a music PR and a magazine columnist. I am now the celebrity manager at Variety, the children’s charity. I decided to move back to Yorkshire two years ago as I missed it so much. I bought a lovely house over looking Wakey canal, my family live down the road, I have a little dog called Blondie and I couldn’t be happier. I hope you enjoy reading about my life in Wakefield and around the country...

Last Friday, I had the honour of being presented with a cheque for Variety, the Children’s Charity for a whopping £45,255.50, from Majestic Bingo Ltd.

I was at the Empire Bingo Club in Mexborough who raised a grand total of £8,046.31 and they were ​crowned ‘star fundraisers’ thanks to the efforts of all the staff and the customers.

It was the most money ever raised by any of the 16 clubs owned by Majestic Bingo. Mexborough now hold the record after beating Castleford’s efforts last year, which I also attended.

It just shows that Northerners really are the most generous. ​

The Bingo Association have pledged their support for Variety until 2018 with the aim of raising £1,000,000. How fantastic is that!

I was lucky enough to be invited to see Strictly Come Dancing at the beautiful Tower Ballroom in Blackpool by my friend Joe McFadden.

I was sitting behind the brilliant Graham Norton and Lenny Henry, JK Rowling and Peter Kay were also there.

The whole experience took a long seven hours as they pre-record some of it but it was so worth it.

Half way through, I snuck out with Graham, Lenny and some friends, and had a few wines and a couple of cocktail sausages, then, we were back in our seats again.

The ballroom was spectacular and the dancing was incredible.

I thought Joe was the best obviously, as he isn’t a professional, he just loves to dance and have fun, and he is also a Variety Ambassador and does so much for the charity.

I even got to attend the after party where I met all the dancers and contestants.

I left the party around 5am and was feeling a tad delicate the next day but a bracing walk round beautiful Blackpool made me feel so much better.

I am so happy that councillors have approved plans for more than £700,000 to be invested in the maintenance and conservation of Sandal Castle.

I spent a lot of my childhood there and it breaks my heart that it isn’t looked after like it should be.

The new café has brought the site alive and people from all over the world visit this historic landmark.

We should be so proud of it and encourage more visitors.