CITY GETS SKATES ON - 1.75M ICE RINK OPENS AT BRETTON ON MONDAY !

The city gains a major new sports facility on Monday when the East of England Ice Rink opens in Mallard Road, Bretton. The centre, which cost 1.75 million, has been developed by a Huntingdon-based company, Anglia Leisure Ltd. It will be open for leisure skating every day from l0am and there are plans to involve schools and factory workers in special sessions.

They are offering large discounts for school or college parties and free lessons. Besides the leisure skating, which will obviously provide the bulk of the centre's income, ice-based sports are also fitted in. Four professional instructors have been employed to give lessons in ice-dance and figure-skating, besides teaching beginners, and there is a system of grades with badges for achievement. Marjorie McCoy, a former British ice-dance junior champion, says she expects initially to be taking mainly beginners classes. "Once people have learned to skate, we hope they will want to learn dance or figures and we can form a special section", she said.

The rink has been built to an internationally recognised size and can stage speed-skating events. This traditional sport at the fens his already been catered for at the centre and a group - the Fenland Indoor Speed-Skating Club - has formed. Among its members are John French, who represented Britain at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics and who lives in Farcet, Lincolnshire champion, Alan Fisher and international John Webster. Paul French, brother of John, is himself Fenland champion and is the assistant manager of the new rink. He predicts a bright future for this section and says that in six months the club should be strong enough to enter national competition.

An hour and a quarter has been set aside from 12-45pm on Sundays for speed-skating and Paul says youngsters from eight upwards can take part. There are also plans to establish ice-hockey teams if there is enough local interest and the ice rink at Nottingham, the nearest to Peterborough, has offered to establish a club here. A demonstration match will probably be arranged in the next month.