Strictly star Judge Rinder has paid tribute to his “incredibly loving” family as he attended Norwood’s annual fundraising dinner this week.
A staggering £2.75million was raised on the night for the Jewish charity, which supports vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities.
Almost a thousand people attended the event at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, where Rinder joined fellow Strictly contestant Greg Rutherford and judge Darcey Bussell as special guests.
Speaking about his most recent foray on the dance floor, the 38-year-old criminal barrister told Jewish News how delighted he was that his grandparents, Frances and Harry, were among the audience as he performed a dazzling foxtrot on Saturday night’s show.
The daytime television star said: “They had such a lovely evening, they really enjoyed it.
“I was worried that people would think I was being inauthentic or a bit schmaltzy [by having them there], but I really got into that dance because they loved it – it’s really their generation, the East End generation. Especially my papa, it really meant a lot to him.”
While odds have been slashed 12-1 for Rinder to win the BBC1 talent show, he said it was “very unlikely” that would happen and quipped: “I’ve prepared [my family] for the unlikely event, but who knows? Donald Trump won the election this year, so anything is possible.”
On the night, the audience heard from 21-year-old Rebecca Lane, who experienced a childhood marked by neglect and trauma and was subsequently helped by Norwood to fulfil her dream of attending university.
“I can say, without a doubt, that I would not be where I am without their help.”
Reflecting on her speech, Rinder said: “We’re here tonight at Norwood and some of the stories we have heard about make you realise how lucky you are – especially how lucky I am – to have been brought up in an incredibly loving, very traditional, Jewish home.”
Norwood’s joint president Lady Nicola Mendolsohn said: “Personal best – this year’s theme – is about ripping to pieces the limitations that others place on you. It’s about hearing ‘you’ll never be able to do that’, then going right ahead and doing it … and doing it well. It’s the common thread that runs through every part of this charity: day in, day out.”
Norwood chief executive Elaine Kerr, added: “We hope that our guests this evening left feeling inspired by the real life stories they’ve heard, and with the knowledge that their support has made a huge difference to the lives of so many.”