Ice skater, 11, from Dereham picked to appear at European Championships

It is only three years since Lucy Burton first took to the ice.

But the 11-year-old mid-Norfolk girl has made amazing progress and has now successfully auditioned for a routine choreographed by skating legend Robin Cousins.

She will appear in a select squad of 50 at the opening ceremony and closing gala of the European Championships in Sheffield next year.

Lucy, of North Elmham, a pupil at Northgate High School, Dereham, recently appeared in front of millions of TV viewers on the BBC's The One Show alongside Chris Evans, Alex Jones, John Bishop and Bruno Tonioli, when she showcased her skills and chatted with top professional skaters Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland.

Lucy is pretty modest and lets her skates do the talking but was clear about her ambition. 'This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,' she said.

In her audition for the European event three weeks ago, Lucy skated a routine in front of other hopefuls from all over the UK.

Cousins, the former Olympic, world and European champion, highlighted her performance skills, saying she had great presence.

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Lucy also showcased her skills on The One Show to the delight of presenter Alex Jones, who was impressed with her gracefulness on the ice.

'It was really lovely to hear it coming from Alex as she proved what a good dancer she was on Strictly Come Dancing,' said Lucy.

She started visiting Planet Ice in Norwich regularly after being taken by her mum Suzie. It wasn't long before her talent and hard work were recognised and she was encouraged to travel to London, where she is now a member of Lee Valley Ice Skating Club.

Mrs Burton said: 'We were amazed at how quickly she took to it. She was obviously a natural, and we're very proud to nurture her talent.'

Lucy has worked through grades set by the National Ice Skating Association and trains tirelessly in Norwich and the capital. Her mother said: 'It's two hours drive to London, but this hasn't fazed or unfocused Lucy from chasing her dream. We would love for her training to continue within Norfolk: it's a shame the amenities here are limited and that we have to travel so far to pursue her dream.'

Lucy hopes to find a skating partner soon so they can take part in ice dance competitions.

She has already won accolades as a solo skater in her age group; her next solo competition is coming up at the beginning of next year and she hopes to bring home another trophy for her quickly-growing collection.

Northgate High is proving supportive of Lucy's bid for the top, allowing her to use her PE lesson time to train at the Norwich ice rink.

'We nurture talent like Lucy's and support her 100 per cent in her training. It's been a joy to see her progress this far.' said her head of year, Edra Cooper.

Lucy is seeking a sponsor for 2012. Mrs Burton said the family was funding her at present, which meant travel, competition and equipment such as skates and dresses. 'With some sponsorship, we feel that she could be skating to a fuller potential, which will stand her in good stead for a professional future in ice skating,' she explained.

Anyone wanting to sponsor Lucy can contact Northgate High: email

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