The local TV personalities and medics taking part in The Royal Does Strictly in aid of the Children's MRI Scanner Appeal have been talking about how their intensive rehearsal programme has been going...as the big final draws even closer!
Several well known local TV and radio presenters/journalists have been partnered with medics from the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children for a unique NI take on the popular 'Strictly Come Dancing' TV series.
'The Royal Does Strictly' - which reaches a glamorous, star-studded climax in the grand final at Titanic Belfast on Saturday, November 10 - is aiming to help raise the remaining £1m needed to provide an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scanner dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of sick and injured children in NI.
Over £1m required to provide the much sought after technology has already been banked - and the big drive now is to raise another million pounds which will make the dream a reality.
The new scanner will be located in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children - the only children's hospital in the UK which doesn't yet have its own MRI scanner.
Several local children's charities have joined forces for the appeal - including the Northern Ireland Children's Cancer Unit, Carrickmannon MRI scanner Appeal, the Children's Heartbeat Trust and Helping Hand.
Among the local personalities who have donned their dancing shoes and teamed up with staff from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust are Marc Mallet and Alison Fleming (UTV), Marie-Louise Connolly and Martina Purdy (BBC), Stephen Clements (Citybeat), Kirstie McMurray (Cool FM).
Dr Deirdre Peake - a paediatric consultant neurologist at the RVH and one of the main organisers of the event - said: "It's absolutely fantastic. We have the best bunch of people dancing with us and it's been amazing meeting people from different walks of life.
"The classes are absolutely hilarious. I must admit I'm a bit nervous about the big night but I'm really looking forward to it.
Dr Mark Love, a radiologist at the RVH - who has been partnered with Kirstie McMurray (Cool FM), said it was vital to have a children's MRI scanner in Belfast.
"At the moment children have to come over and use the main adult scanner in the Royal and very often they have to wait considerable periods of time to have their scans carried out," he explained.
Kirstie added: "There's a few moves coming up in our tango where Mark is a little bit concerned about where my foot is going to end up so we're going to have to keep practicing that one!
Dr Bill McCallion, a paediatric surgeon at the RVH - who has been teamed up with BBC journalist Martina Purdy - said: "It is a tremendously good cause. We desperately need a children's MRI scanner for the Children's Hospital and it has been a pleasure to be involved in this project.
"However, it is the scariest thing I have ever done. People may assume that operating on children is a fairly daunting thing - but I can tell you it does not compare to this!"
Marc Mallet, a presenter with UTV, admitted: "When you are watching this programme at home you don't realise how much is involved and how much (effort) you have to give it."
The main sponsors of the appeal are: Kingsbridge Private Hospital, ASDA, Gilbert Ash and the Merchant Hotel