The first ice-gala at the East of England rink in Bretton on Sunday was all that 'the programme promised. A host of skating stars, champions past and present, showed the local amateurs what it was all about, although there were delightful performances by the fledgling Peterborough ice dance figure club.

The range of skating ability was topped by world ice dance pair Jayne Torvill and Chris Dean, who gave the first public showing of a new routine they have been working on while practising at Bretton over the past month. They were magnificent and the reception they received was enough to melt the ice. The gala was in celebration of the rink's opening six months ago and was also the birthday of Stephen Williams, who with his partner Wendy Sessions had some bad luck. Not once did they lose their good humour, despite several mis-starts of their music and on their return spot when both of them fell, twice. Their professionalism shone through and they persevered, completing a marvellous sequence.

The second half saw a solo spot by the rink's resident professional, Chris Haworth, who deserves an accolade for his clever comic routine on skates. An exhibition ice hockey match between Peterborough Pirates and Streatham Mohawks went on too long. What would have been fun as a taster became tedious. There was also speed skating and a 3,000 metre relay race.

The return of Torvill and Dean to end the evening was well worth the wait. A spectacular climax with smoke and laser beams was fitting accompaniment to the champion couple, who returned for two encores after rapturous applause.