Strictly’s Will Bayley gets emotional message from Janette Manrara on comeback

Will Bayley got an emotional message from Strictly Come Dancing partner Janette Manrara ahead of his comeback from injury.

The Paralympian, 31, was reluctantly forced to pull out of the competition last week due to a knee injury.

The inspirational athlete vowed to be fit for Tokyo 2020 as he fights back from injury – and wants to return to the BBC dancing show.

In the moving video message, Janette said: "I love you so much. Thank you for giving me the most amazing memories when we dance together on Strictly Come Dancing . I know that contemporary routine we dance will hold a special place in my heart and I'll cherish it forever.

"Take care of that knee. We need you to get to Tokyo 2020 and get that gold. And me and you will definitely do that jive one day."

Will admitted he was "gutted" to leave the competition last week after his knee was badly hurt while jumping off a table.

He explained: "It was our last run through, I jumped off [the table]… I’d done it before a couple of times. As soon as I landed I knew it was gone.”

"I just think it could have just happened… I really do think it could have happened to anyone. I’m quite fearless really. I was going for it. Strictly, the whole experience, I wanted to prove to people I could do it.

"I had that inside me. I was really wanting to prove a point as well. I jumped off the table and gave everything I could. When I landed I felt it pop; I was expecting to see it broken. I was quite relieved when I looked down it was all still there."

Will, who was born with arthrogryposis, admitted he had achieved everything he wanted to when signing up to the show.

He said: "When I was growing up I was always looking for someone with my disability to sort of look up to, not look up to, just someone to see doing things. With my condition it was all quite clinical stuff… I wanted to see someone dancing or someone playing sport. I’ve had so many lovely emails, hopefully I’ve made some kind of difference.”

Of also having non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 7, he said: “It’s been a tough one. I’ve been lucky enough to come out of it. It’s made me a better person I think and more resilient. I’ve tried to look as those obstacles as an opportunity to improve and get better.”

Will was asked whether he was concerned about missing the Paralympics in Tokyo.

He said: "No, I’ll be there. I’m really confident I’ll be there. Just got to give it a few weeks and see how this settles down and then see what the doctors say and what I need to do.

"But I’m really confident I’ll be there and try and get another gold medal, it’ll be great."


Strictly Come Dancing viewers were in tears on Saturday night when Tess Daly spoke to injured Will in the studio audience.

The Para-athlete should have been on the dance floor, but was forced to watch the rest of the celebs from the sidelines.

"I am so gutted but it's so good to be here and support everyone smashing it," confessed Will.

Asked about his condition, he said: "It's getting there, I want to see what it looks like in a few weeks."

As the camera panned to an emotional Janette on the balcony, he said: "My absolute highlight has been having Janette as my partner. She believed in me."

During an appearance on It Takes Two last week, Will broke down in tears while discussing his sad exit from the competition.

The Paralympian was comforted by host Zoe Ball and partner Janette Manrara, who helped wipe away his tears.

"It's really gutting isn't it? Because I didn't want it to end like this," said Will.

Choking up, he added: "There were so many positive things as well… some of the lifts were amazing and I didn't think I'd be able to do this."

"I was scared of embarrassing myself and she believed in me. I just wanted to help people."

*Loose Women airs weekdays on ITV at 12.30pm

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