Strictly winner Hamza Yassin  has ‘put Ardnamurchan on the map, big style’

His spectacular dancefloor skills on Strictly could take him to the glittering lights of the West End but friends of Hamza Yassin last night revealed his heart remains in Lochaber.

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal with their trophy after winning Strictly Come Dancing 2022
Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal with their trophy after winning Strictly Come Dancing 2022
Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal with their trophy after winning Strictly Come Dancing 2022

As the wildlife cameraman scooped the famous glitterball in Saturday night's final, his most fervent fans were in his adopted Highlands home.

Yassin, 32, is now set to enjoy a hero's homecoming on the Ardnamurchan peninsula and he told his fans: "Scotland will always be my home and I will never leave it.

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"I might travel the world and go to see and film some beautiful places, but I'll always come back to my homeland of Scotland. I was born in Africa, raised there a little bit, but my newfound love is Scotland and I want to say thank you to all the Scottish people who have been voting and helping me through."

Rosie Curtis, 53, who heads the local Highland games for the West Ardnamurchan Show and Sports Committee, has known Yassin since he arrived to film its wildlife while living in the back of his van a little more than 12 years ago. The mother-of-three, who is also a firefighter and member of the coastguard, has watched in awe as Yassin swapped the talents he honed in caber tossing, tug-of-war and cèilidh dancing for the Charleston and the American Smooth.

She said: "Ardnamurchan has been gripped by what Hamza has achieved. We've all been behind him. He only broke into wildlife TV in the last few years and we've been watching him on Animal Park, Countryfile and Ranger Hamza.

"Hamza is coming home a star. He has been away from the community for quite a long while and people are really ready to have him back. What a homecoming he will have - it is going to be amazing."

Meanwhile, Amanda Gane, 56, the Ardnamurchan woman he has adopted as his "Scottish mum", said: "Everyone says what a revelation Hamza is but I knew he could dance from the cèilidhs we've been to. I knew he was light-footed and had fantastic balance because I have seen him hopping from boats and rocks.

"I knew that as soon as public got to see what kind of guy he was, they would fall in love with him. It's impossible not to. He collects friends and people that love him like others collect shells on the beach."

Gane, who with her husband Chris, 58, has a grown-up son and twin daughters, said she was delighted for Yassin's parents south of the border. "Hamza is really close to his mum and dad - I'm just the back up. Chris and I call him our African son. We are extremely proud of him."

His friends and fans on the Ardnamurchan peninsula turned out in all their glitz to cheer him on from the community centre where the final was on the big screen.

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Curtis, 53, said: "We're a small community but we've been going to the community centre every week to watch the competition on the big screen. Everyone's been buzzing.

"Hamza was already a star for us. We have seen him wearing his Ardnamurchan sweatshirt in training sessions, he has had his home blazoned across his chest every week and has put Ardnamurchan on the map big style."



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