So many denied the chance to ice-skate

AS a locally-based tour operator, I have over the past 24 years, now taken almost 6,000 people from Hastings, Bexhill and Battle, to Holiday on Ice’s annual January show at the Brighton Centre.

It was in this capacity I received an invitation to the premiere performance and reception of the new production Tropicana, hosted by Robin Cousins. During the interval, Robin introduced and showcased a few of Britain’s most promising up and coming youngsters, possible Ice Stars of the future.

They had just one thing in common, an ice rink, however small, in their vicinity.

As many of your readers will be well aware, Hastings was until 1997, fortunate enough to have an ice rink, operating from the site of the old White Rock Baths. It was small, and rather shabby, but a facility which as well as being viable, was also much appreciated, not only by novices like me out for some fun, but also more talented skaters. As I understand it, when the lease came up for renewal, the council wanted more money, agreement couldn’t be reached, the leasee was forced out, and it closed. At the time much was made of how valuable the site was for development.

It all came to nothing with the decision, not only resulting in the loss of a much loved facility, but also the site being left empty for 13 long years.

How many visitors to the town have been lost I wonder, how many local people denied the pleasure it would have given?

I would like to have been able to take my own children.

With the renewed interest in ice skating as as a result of TV’s Dancing on Ice, and increasing popularity of shows like Holiday on Ice, the needless demise of the Hastings rink is still very keenly felt.

Suffice to say none of the rising stars showcased in Brighton came from 1066 Country.

CLIVE RICHARDSON

Clive Richardson Tours

Tollgates