Strictly star Ellie Simmonds has opened up after leaving Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend. 

The Paralympic swimming champion and her partner Nikita Kuzmin became the sixth pairing to leave the ballroom on Sunday's results show.

The pair scored 33 points on Saturday’s show for their lively Charleston to Too Darn Hot from Kiss Me Kate but found themselves in the dance-off against Britain’s Got Talent finalist Molly Rainford and dancer Carlos Gu.

In a heartfelt Instagram post, the swimming champ said: "I don’t have the words to describe this Strictly experience. It’s been absolutely everything & more.

"I’ve had the time of my life & loved every single second of it. I’ve danced for 7 weeks & performed dances that never in my wildest dreams would have thought I’d do.

"I even brought skills out of myself that I never knew I could do (acting) Strictly changes lives & it’s changed mine.

Ellie Simmonds breaks silence after leaving BBC Strictly

Ellie also had a message for her professional partner: "Nikita, where do I start with you (typing this as I’m sobbing). You are the most caring, kindest, sweetest, lovable, frickin talented person I’ve ever met. And so driven it’s unbelievable. You’ve taught me so much; you’ve got me hooked on espressos (I’m going to be buzzing for life)!

"There’s so much I’m going to miss about you; training with you every single day has been so much fun. The chats we’ve had (often for hours) - gosh, you’ve brought back my purpose, you’ve helped me find myself again & found my confidence in myself that I’ve lost this past couple of years.
You knew at the start it was going to be different & you’d have to figure out how to adapt, but you did it with no hesitation.

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"You’ve helped show the world that anyone can dance. It really is for everyone. I’ll never forget the time you said you’re now so used to dancing with me, average height people feel different. That comment made me tear up inside. I’m going to miss you a lot but I know you’re always at the end of the phone.

The olympian also took a moment to thank the "whole Strictly family including all the teams behind the scenes.

She added: "I want to thank the whole Strictly family for giving me this opportunity. SJ, Stef, Joe & Jas. Thank you. To everyone behind the scenes - you make us all feel at home, & like family. The wonderful costume department - wow, you’re so talented. The incredible Make up & Hair team – coming in on a Saturday & getting transformed was one of my highlights."

Ellie continued the post with a note to the judges, presenters and " every single person involved".

She wrote: "To the Judges, Claudia, Tess, Alan, India, Sophie, Clemmie,prop team, VT team, Selin, Jo, & every single person involved. I know it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you all soon! To the celebs & pros, I love you all! Will miss you all so much. 

Concluding her Instagram post with a promise, she said: "Thanks to everyone for the love & support you’ve given throughout the time on the show & always. It means so much to me . I’m going to…Keeeeeep Dancing. X"

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 6.55pm, with the results show on Sunday at 7.20pm on BBC One.