Rolling back the years: Memories of Funkys indoor skating rink

TAKING PART IN THE LIMBO COMPETITION AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

TAKING PART IN THE LIMBO COMPETITION AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

As roller skating made a comeback during lockdown, Norwich’s indoor rink reflected on its 29 years in business and why this sport has brought so many together over the years. 

It may be seen as a retro hobby but this year roller skating has rolled back into fashion, as hundreds of people across Norfolk enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of being on eight wheels in lockdown.  

THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - WHICH IS NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

But Gary Osborne, co-owner and manager of Funkys roller rink, at Burton Road Business Park, in Norwich, said it may be trending now but for him roller skating has been his life for nearly 30 years. 

Mr Osborne started working at the rink, originally called Super Skate, in 1992, which changed to Solar Skate in 1994-5, Funky Monkeys in 2000 and finally Funkys in 2004 – when he took the business over. 

FUNKY MONKEYS party venue Burton Road een 16/1/2002

FUNKY MONKEYS party venue Burton Road 16/1/2002. - Credit: Archant Library

“I started two weeks before we opened in 1992 and in September this year I will have been here for 29 years,” he said. 

“When we started, we were purely roller skating so that hasn’t changed a great deal, the major change is the play area which introduced a younger audience. 


“Over the years, thousands of different people from different backgrounds have come here - having been roller skating for nearly 40 years myself.  


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“You might have someone who is a solicitor or a builder but it doesn’t matter when you’re skating. When you come together and you skate, it doesn’t matter what you do in the day, it puts everyone on a level playing field.” 

FROM THE LEFT: SARAI JOLLY, ROGER BALE, EMMA POLGRAVE AND AMY HUNT PLAYING A VIDEO GAME AT THE FAMIL

FROM THE LEFT: SARAI JOLLY, ROGER BALE, EMMA POLGRAVE AND AMY HUNT PLAYING A VIDEO GAME AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Archant Library

This week the rink welcomed back skaters of all ages after the third national lockdown.  

Since the pandemic hit last year, Funkys – like many indoor rinks– was unable to open for most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

JOINING IN THE GAMES AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

JOINING IN THE GAMES AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

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Mr Osborne added: “I would like to say a massive thank you to the people who have supported us over the past 14 months and our landlord has been brilliant.  

“Without his support, we may not have survived.” 

“The last 29-years have been up and down, a lot of hard work but on the whole, it has been a lot of fun. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” 

JOINING IN A GAME OF CHARIOTS AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

JOINING IN A GAME OF CHARIOTS AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Archant Library

YOUNGSTERS AT THE SNAP EVENT AT SOLAR SKATE LAST NIGHT

Youngsters at the former "Snap" event at Funkys roller rink when it was named Solar Skate. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

FUN AND GAMES MESSING AROUND AT SOLAR SKATE

FUN AND GAMES MESSING AROUND AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Archant Library

RYAN Mc CANN PLAYING A VIDEO GAME AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

RYAN Mc CANN PLAYING A VIDEO GAME AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

YOUNG SKATERS AT SOLAR SKATE NAOMI WEBB. ADRIAN JUDD 11.9.00

YOUNG SKATERS AT SOLAR SKATE NAOMI WEBB. ADRIAN JUDD. 11.9.00 - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

TAKING PART IN THE LIMBO COMPETITION AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

TAKING PART IN THE LIMBO COMPETITION AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

PHILIP GALLAGHER AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE.

PHILIP GALLAGHER AT THE FAMILY EVENING AT SOLAR SKATE - NOW NAMED FUNKYS. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers


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