Fenland hosts a skating revival for those of a certain age!

GLIDING across the polished floor in perfect synchronisation you wouldn’t know that Stan and Jocelyn are both in their 80s.

Roller skating rivals since the 1950s, they lost touch for almost 60 years until they went to a coffee morning, held in the slightly unusual setting of a skating rink.

Now word has spread and skating greats of the past – many now their 70s and 80s – are rolling up for twice-weekly reunions.

Stan Balls and Jocelyn Taylor Moore, both 82, competed in the British Professional Pair roller skating championships in 1951.

Mrs Taylor Moore said: “I skated against Stan in the first pair skating at the professional skating competition in 1951.

“I hadn’t seen him since. We have just renewed our friendship. I love it here because I talk to people I haven’t seen for years. It is lovely that they are still roller skating.”

When Mr Balls, from Walsoken, saw the coffee morning advertised he decided it was time to get back on eight wheels.

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“I hadn’t skated for about 25 years and then I came back here”, he said. “I struggled a lot when I first put my skates back on, but I was determined.

“I really look forward to coming. I do love it - I just wish I was 20 years younger. I can’t see why more old people that used to skate don’t come. I can skate better than I can walk.”

He said his wife Angela had been worried about him taking up skating again. So he bought her some skates and she started going to the coffee mornings too.

“There are still people around who used to do it. But as they have got older they don’t want to risk it. They are frightened of breaking bones.

“I’ve fallen down here more than I did in my whole time skating before. I was trying to do what the other guys are doing – speed skating.”

Before he joined the coffee morning Mr Balls played bowls.

“Bowls is very tame,” he said. “The people were nice, but I like skating. It’s a better atmosphere.”

Mr Balls was quite a celebrity in the skating world and other skating regulars remember him performing on Hunstanton Pier during his Heyday.

John Melton, 70, from Emneth, said: “I remember Stan skating on the pier.

“I don’t know what we did before we all started roller skating. I make model aeroplanes. This takes a lot more energy.

“Before I did this, I wasn’t really doing much. I would just walk around the village. I had always skated since I was small. When I tell people that I go roller skating they don’t really believe it.

“When we are skating around, we always look ahead. There are people on the rink that aren’t as fast as us. We do like to get a bit of speed up if we can.”

It is not just roller skating greats, but great ice skaters who have joined the group.

Alan Fisher, 64, from Spalding, was the one mile British ice skating champion in 1985 and won the Lincolnshire county one mile speed ice skating 10 times over 30 years.

“I keep fit roller skating,” he said. “You can really skate all year around but you can only ice skate when it is cold. We’ve had so many mild winters in the last few years. I’ve always done a bit of roller skating. I started when they built this. It keeps your reflexes right.”

Ashley and Angela Moore bought the Roller Village, in Mill Road, Walpole Highway, 18-months ago.

Mrs Moore said they had started the adult coffee morning expecting it to attract young mothers whose children had just started at school.

“We started it for a completely different market. All these old skaters showed up. We have really grown to love these guys. They are here as regular as clockwork.

“They are not just toddling around the edge. Stan brings along his music. They dance to foxtrots and the waltz. It wouldn’t go down well with the youngsters.”

* Adult sessions at Roller Village take place on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10.30am and midday.

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