Will Bayley has been left “gutted” after quitting Strictly Come Dancing.
The 31-year-old Paralympic gold medallist, who was partnered with Janette Manrara, pulled out of the show ahead of its annual Halloween special last week, after he injured his leg jumping from a table, and today confirmed he will not return.
“I’m gutted my Strictly journey has had to come to an end,” he said. “I’ve loved being part of the show, and am so grateful for the phenomenal support we have received. I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me, and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. The things we achieved, from our couple’s choice dance, through to the lifts in our salsa, will stay with me forever. I’ve had the time of my life.”
Manrara said: “Absolutely devastated that Will and I will not be able to continue dancing. We made some incredible memories that I will never forget, and I am pleased to have shared them with such an inspirational person whom I can now call a friend for life.”
Bailey had intended to return to the show following the injury, telling fans: “I’ll be back!”
“I am absolutely gutted I cannot be performing tonight on strictly with Janette, sadly I’m injured and not fit to dance,” he wrote last weekend. “I hope to be back on the dance floor next week…I’ll be back!”
He missed the Jive last weekend and was down to dance the Waltz to Weekend in New England this Saturday.
It’s been one of the most accident-prone series of Strictly Come Dancing yet, with Jamie Laing having to pull out of the show before it even launched after he injured his foot.
“It’s really upsetting and devastating to be honest,” Laing said on Instagram. “But I will be supporting every single one of my buddies dancing this year. They’re a great bunch of people. I wish I could be dancing, but they will rock the dance floor!”
Bayley is not the first celeb to be forced to pull out of Strictly due to injury.
Jimmy Tarbuck left the programme in series four after doctors advised him to rest for the good of his health.
British long-jumper Jade Johnson also quit the show in 2009 after suffering a knee injury in rehearsals – which in turn forced her to drop out of the London 2012 Olympics.
Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One, Saturday at 7pm