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'A hard, horrible decision' - roller skating rink to shut

PUBLISHED: 13:41 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 07 November 2019

Flashback: Ellen Siegert (8) and Harlee Wicks (7) from Yarmouth have both won British champion roller skating titles Picture: Nick Butcher

Flashback: Ellen Siegert (8) and Harlee Wicks (7) from Yarmouth have both won British champion roller skating titles Picture: Nick Butcher

©Archant 2013

Skaters will roll up at their home rink for the last time this weekend as it stages its final annual gala.

Flashback: Glenn Wicks and Gaynor Read ready to launch their new roller-skating rink at Yarmouth 
Picture: Andy DarnellFlashback: Glenn Wicks and Gaynor Read ready to launch their new roller-skating rink at Yarmouth Picture: Andy Darnell

Hundreds of competitors from across the country will take to eight wheels for the event at Retroskate in Great Yarmouth's Marina Centre.

The seafront building is facing the wrecking ball and a new water and leisure complex is set to spring up in its place in 2021.

But Retroskate's owners have been unable to find a replacement venue and say they can no longer carry on.

Gaynor Read said: "It's not for the want of trying. We have a council that wants to ignore us.

"We cannot have a business if we have no venue.

Team Retroskate at the FARS National Competition in Kettering.Team Retroskate at the FARS National Competition in Kettering.

"We have had to come to a very hard, horrible decision."

The keys are due to be handed back on November 19 and all the skates and equipment will be sold off.

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It means the artistic roller skating club - reckoned the largest and most successful in the country - needs to find a new dedicated base.

Retroskate   
Picture: Retroskate Artistic Roller Skating ClubRetroskate Picture: Retroskate Artistic Roller Skating Club

The club, which is separate from the community interest company of the same name, has coached dozens of skaters to medal success in both national and international competition.

The medal tally for this year is 102 with ten British title holders among the 80-strong membership aged from four to 23.

In a statement the club said: "Despite the news of the rink's closure, the skaters, coaching team, and parents have been pulling together to train as hard as ever, and the club will continue while they hope to secure a new permanent home.

"Retroskate ARSC is more than just a club, we are one big skating family, a family children come to, to learn determination, goals, inspiration, perseverance and receive support and friendship."

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said it had been working closely with user groups to find alternative provision.

"The council recognises the importance of artistic roller-skating as a sport within the borough and we are pleased that the Retroskate Artistic Roller Skating Club will continue to run beyond the closure of the old Marina Centre," it said.

"While the centre closed to the public last week, the council specifically designed the closure programme to allow Retroskate to remain open for the gala. In addition, the facilities mix for the new complex includes a sports hall which would be available for a range of uses, including roller-skating."

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