My father left the Isle of Wight in order to find a job and ended up in London where he met my mother and I was born in Streatham in 1943.
I learned to skate at about 7 years old and spent an inordinate amount of time at Streatham Ice Rink, in the 50’s 60’ in fact I met my first husband there and we continued to skate until I moved away from the area.
I had always wanted to play Ice Hockey. However, although well established in Canada, it was thought of as a “man’s sport” here and although Sue Parsons played hockey with the men until 1976 it was then deemed to be inappropriate and she was stopped. That led to her forming the Streatham Strikers in 1981 and helping to found the seven team women’s league.*
Although not a true “Islander” - only being half of one I had always wanted to move here and in 1980 my husband John and I finally took the plunge.
When Ryde Arena opened on 20th May 1991 we, with my mother, queued with the crowd that turned up that night, paid our £3.50 each and it was like going back to my youth again. I had dug out my old white “tubes” from my teens and was skating as if I had never been away. Wonderful!!!
When Nick Rothwell started coaching recreational hockey players later that year I asked if I could have a go, apparently everyone of any age, gender or ability was welcome and at the tender? age of 48 (which accounts for my shirt number) I took the sport up. I played for 20 years.
John and I so wanted the Rink to succeed, I was a voluntary steward in the early days and we both volunteered to assist with the Hockey. I became the Game Scorer, which with a short gap caring for a relative, I have continued for 25 years until the close. We have both covered Penalty Box and Goal Judge, John was equipment manager and then on the bench for some years. We volunteered as others did to assist as bar staff on the show evenings, with such stars as Shakin’ Stevens, Wizard, Hot Chocolate etc.
As we have got older it has become so much a part of our lives that it is as people have said like being part of a big family and it’s a good feeling to think that we can still contribute something useful to our community. We also like being around people of all ages rather than just our own age group, as Justin (Coach Attrill) said it helps make you feel young even if it doesn’t show as well. It certainly helps you keep fit.
We love watching the youngsters enjoy their sport, the Hockey, Figure Skating the lovely Ice Shows and are heartbroken at what has happened.
16 Years Old in Streatham *from an Observer article 26 October 1986
Somewhat Older in Ryde Arena