Skating sensation, 89, learned at Cromer rink 'to impress girls'

John Wilcock, who learned to skate in Cromer, has started a fundraising campaign for the charity FairShare. 

John Wilcock, who learned to skate in Cromer, has started a fundraising campaign for the charity FairShare. - Credit: Supplied by John Wilcock

An 89-year-old who has become a charity roller-skating sensation has revealed he learned in the 1950s in Cromer "to impress the young ladies".

John Wilcock, a great-grandfather from Warwick, said putting his skates on again after a 70-year break had proven slightly more challenging than he had imagined.

Mr Wilcock said: "I quickly discovered I'm 90 and not 19, I'm still a bit rusty. But my rubber legs are starting to harden up and I'm getting my confidence back. It's funny how skills that you learn never go away completely, there's always a little bit left."

John Wilcock, who learned to skate in Cromer, has started a fundraising campaign for the charity FairShare. 

John Wilcock, who learned to skate in Cromer, has started a fundraising campaign for the charity FairShare. - Credit: Supplied by John Wilcock

Mr Wilcock found himself inspired by Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign and Captain Sir Tom Moore during the pandemic to do something to help others.

He decided to roller skate 90 laps of his courtyard before his 90th birthday in January next year for the food charity FareShare.


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He has since broken his initial £500 fundraising target many time over, with the total now around £30,000.

As a young man, Mr Wilcock served as a Royal Air Force police officer, first at West Beckham near Sheringham, and then at a radar station at Trimingham, south-east of Cromer.

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He said: "On the Saturday evening we were allowed off camp. At the time Cromer must have been one of the few places in the country to have a skating rink.  

"It was a kind of honeypot, well populated by nice young ladies. I learned to skate very quickly because it was one way to get close to the ladies, and I became quite a proficient dancer on skates, far better than I was when I was on my feet."

John Wilcock, as a young man in his RAF uniform.

John Wilcock, as a young man in his RAF uniform. Mr Wilcock learned to skate at Cromer's former skating rink, which he described as a 'honeypot'. - Credit: Supplied by John Wilcock

Mr Wilcock said during the first lockdown he saw a young boy roller skating in a park, which gave him the idea to buy a new pair of his own as a way of keeping fit.

He said: "I was always hungry for school dinners and I had some sympathy for what Marcus Rashford was trying to do. I found out he was associated with the charity FairShare, which arranges to collect food from supermarkets so it doesn't end up in the dustbin.

John Wilcock, who learned to skate in Cromer, has started a fundraising campaign for the charity FairShare. 

John Wilcock, who learned to skate in Cromer, has started a fundraising campaign for the charity FairShare. - Credit: Supplied by John Wilcock

"It's distributed to needy families and children, and I thought that was a charity I could support."

To find out more or to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/John-Wilcock2


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