A Belfast dancer who partnered the late football star Paolo Rossi on the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing is recovering after suffering a stroke during lockdown at the age of 40.
Victoria Martin spoke about her illness after she paid tribute to the hero of Italy's World Cup win in Spain in 1982, who died from an incurable lung disease.
Victoria was sought out by the Italian media to talk about the 64-year-old after his death earlier this month, which caused widespread mourning in the country.
"I was deeply shocked. Paolo was a wonderful man," said Victoria, whose dancing feet have taken her all over the world, including 16 years in Italy.
"I cried all day after hearing the news. I felt desperately sad for his lovely wife and family."
Victoria, who is currently working back home answering calls from the public on a Covid helpline, is missing her life as a dancer, but is relieved at overcoming her own health horror.
She had returned to Belfast after lockdown and was in her sister Nadene's beauty salon in the east of the city when, out of the blue, she suffered a stroke in July.
"All of a sudden my right hand curled up and I felt dizzy," she recalled. "I looked in a mirror and realised that the right side of my face had drooped. But I didn't panic. I'd been doing yoga and meditation online and they taught me to stay calm in any bad situation.
"I couldn't speak to tell my sister what was going on but she and one of her clients who had experience of strokes quickly sensed that something right and called an ambulance.
"Bizarrely I thought of what my dance colleagues would make of all the dribbling from my mouth and I started to laugh which apparently helped make my muscles come back.
"The paramedics couldn't believe it and I was able to speak just a little bit rather than slurring all my words but I was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital where I had the most remarkable doctor, Dr Fearon, who was a superstar. The whole NHS system was fantastic."
Victoria wasn't able to sleep in hospital and spent the night marvelling at how the staff helped patients in her open ward.
Victoria, who was told her stroke had been caused by a hole in her heart that had been undiagnosed from birth, was introduced aged four to ballroom dancing by her father Sid, also an accomplished dancer.
Five years later Victoria enrolled in dance classes in Liverpool with one of the top teachers in the world Margaret Redmond before she went to live and work in London at the age of 17.
Victoria became a hugely successful competitive dancer and won the International & UK Rising star championships before she waltzed off to Italy, where she later became disillusioned and hung up her dancing shoes.
However, her long-cherished hopes of dancing on television were revived after a phone call from TV producers, who were looking for a professional partner for a celebrity on the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing, Ballando con le Stelle.
Victoria thought it was a prank call and ended the call.
Luckily for her, the persistent TV team rang back and Victoria accepted the invitation to appear on the show, staying with the series for five seasons.
She accompanied a raft of Italian actors, comedians and Paolo Rossi - the partnership that raised her profile to such an extent that she was instantly recognised on the streets of Rome and asked for photographs and autographs.
Victoria left the TV show to follow her dreams of going into the theatre and she was recruited by the renowned Burn the Floor company, who have done for Latin American dancing what Riverdance did for Irish dancing.
With her recovery going well, Victoria is now hoping that she won't be kicking her heels for much longer and will soon be linking up with her colleagues in real life rather than just working out with them in a virtual dance school online.