I messaged Archie this morning as I watched Trump win the presidential race. I’m always wondering how my son is and what is happening where he is. Currently he is Washington State following the election circus and looking forward to returning to Canada, to Calgary and Vancouver in the coming weeks. Richard and I will be meeting him in Los Angeles just before Christmas. Archie will be skating on Christmas Day in Anaheim, California.
When Archie was four he went ice skating, fell over and left the ice, hating it. When he was five he got back on the ice and is still there. He started his skating career at the small local ice rink just like many before him. He started at Galaxy gliders before Katie Nyman took him under her wing and set him off on his ice skating journey. Archie’s first figure skating role was James Bond and at that time Daisy his sister, was nearly always on the ice too.
After Katie moved on a lovely young coach came to work at Planet Ice. Terri Fleming came with lots of ideas for the young skaters and started a synchronised skating team. Daisy was one of the first members and we were so proud of their first performance at the National Team Challenge competition in 2004. Terri also took on Archie. They became good friends and a good team. She encouraged and pushed Archie and enabled him to pass all his skating exams, enter higher level competitions and perform in shows and exhibitions.
One of his many career highlights was skating with Kyran Bracken MBE and Steven Cousins in Ice Party Champions which came to Ryde Arena. He also skated in an exhibition show at Gunwarf Quays the following Christmas. Archie also celebrated most of his birthday’s whist performing in the Christmas productions each year. There was always a birthday cake somewhere! Archie was particularly proud the first year he got to play a principle role and enjoyed the interaction with the audiences. I was there with my school children cheering all our skaters on. Just magic!
Whilst being a committed figure skater, Archie also decided, from a young age, to play Ice Hockey. He was six when he put on his first hockey jersey and played in his first home match. He was awarded ‘Spirit of the game’ on many occasions, I think for his sheer enthusiasm.The family spent many weekends travelling to matches with Archie, helping out at home games and following our Isle of Wight Raiders. At this time, Raiders visited schools and promoted skating. Archie was always keen to join in with an assembly if they visited his school. One year, Andy Pickles and the team, supported a reading project at one of our local schools. The children loved their time ‘Reading with a Raider’. Richard also took his coaching certificate to help with the junior teams and eventually took over the shop to allow Islanders to buy their skates and equipment at the rink. I however, never failed to wonder how Archie could adjust his skating to which boots he was wearing!
Although Archie spent most (all) of his childhood at the rink, and eventually worked there too, he also studied hard at school. He had applied to Cardiff University and was taking a year out just to concentrate on qualifying for the British Championships, when he got the call from Disney.
And then he was gone. Over-night he had become a professional ice skater.
When he returned home after his first tour he went back to Ryde Academy to talk to pupils about his new career. Archie’s schools had always been supportive of his skating career and were understanding of all the early mornings and days off for competition. When we meet his ex-teachers, they are always first to say that it was time well spent and ask where he is in the world.
Archie has now travelled on four continents and is on his second tour of the USA. He won’t be home till May next year, but thanks to a small island Ice Rink in Ryde, Archie lives his dream.