Wiltshire paramedic crowned Irish dancing world champion

A WILTSHIRE paramedic swapped fast-thinking medical care for fast-toed dancing to win a top competition.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) crew member Leon Westcott has been crowned World Irish Dance Champion.

Leon, who works out of the Trust’s Malmesbury station, triumphed at the World Irish Dance Championships in Killarney, County Kerry.

And he said the rapid toe-tapping moves of Irish dancing keeps him in top physical form to help save lives as a paramedic.

“My job is very physical, lifting and supporting patients; and spending lots of time on my feet. So, I actually use Irish dancing to keep my fitness up,” the 23-year-old said.

“Running up to the world championships, I was in dance training five days a week, often straight after a long shift of caring for patients across Wiltshire.

“My colleagues here at SWASFT are very excited to have the World Irish Dance Champion on the team. They’re always asking me to show them a bit of Irish dancing.”

Describing the World Irish Dance Championships event, held in April, Leon, of Stratton in Swindon, added: “Becoming the World Champion has been an absolute dream of mine and one that I never believed possible.

“Even when I won, it took some time to sink in. The contest featured dancers from all over the world, from nations you wouldn’t expect to find Irish dancing.”

Leon has been dancing all his life and attended performance schools in London, Wantage and Swindon. He previously held major titles including fourth in the world, British champion and two-time Irish open champion.

The paramedic now plans to mark the world-title win with a party in July, to raise funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

He said: “It is tradition that the World Champion hosts a party in celebration of their win. I will be holding one in July in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Leon completed a Paramedic Science degree at the University of the West of England. He joined SWASFT as a newly qualified paramedic in 2021.

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