Prince Harrys pal addresses very tough time on Strictly behind-the-scenes

Former Strictly Come Dancing star JJ Chalmers has reflected on his bittersweet journey on the BBC show with Amy Dowden. The former royal marine showcased the moves he didn’t know he had back in 2020 and made it all the way to the quarter finals.

Looking back on his time in the competition, the 36-year-old said his experience was “amazing” but “physically and mentally very tough”. He revealed he had been warned about just how tough it would be, but beat the odds with how far he got with no previous dance experience.

JJ spilled: “It was physically and mentally very tough, but it’s all made up for by [realising] ‘actually I just love having a good dance’. Obviously I had an amazing dance partner in Amy and I felt supported by other people as well.

“It was a great adventure, I’d love to dance again, I just haven’t had a chance. But yeah, equally, I look back at and think, I can’t believe I did that.”

Earlier this year, Amy had to pull out of Strictly due to being diagnosed with breast cancer. After a six-month long battle, she completed her final round of chemotherapy this month, telling fans it was “a relief like no other”.

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Reflecting on the moment he heard of her diagnosis, JJ said: “I just knew she’d be determined to get through it. That’s what she does, she’s an unbelievably determined person. Amy is as tough as they come and as lovely as they come, but she is not a person to be underestimated. Essentially, cancer messed with the wrong person.”

Addressing the dancer’s Strictly future, he added: “Nothing will hold her back, I can guarantee you that.” On November 9, Amy shared an emotional video of her ringing the bell after completing her treatment.

As part of a lengthy caption, she wrote: “I’ll never be the same Amy again but, what I do know is I’m so much stronger than I ever knew and I have made the most amazing friends along the way. I hate looking in the mirror at the moment but I know this is a small price to pay and ‘this too shall pass’.

JJ Chalmers discusses Prince Harry losing his military titles

“Although my journey isn’t over yet, this day of ringing the chemo bell felt like an endless distance away and at points I thought I’d never make it to. I’m so proud of myself. I now await an MRI to determine if I need more surgery but for now I’m celebrating my chemo journey coming to an end. My dancing shoes are warming up and I can’t wait to get back in the training room!” is looking to shine a light on the importance of Veterans reconnecting with their past service men and women.

JJ has joined forces with Veterans Railcard to encourage ex-servicemen and women to nurture their connections within the Veterans community and enjoy a third off rail travel with their Veterans Railcard.

He said of his involvement: “The extraordinary experiences we undergo during our time in the armed forces profoundly shapes our characters and influences various facets of our lives.

“For me, maintaining connections with fellow Veterans has proven to be fundamental in navigating life beyond the Royal Marines”.

Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight at 7.25pm on BBC One.

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