Skaters will be left out in the cold
DOZENS of skaters took to the ice to show the strength of feeling over the closure of Bristol Ice Rink.
A specially-staged show dazzled shoppers on a temporary rink at Cadbury Garden Centre in Congresbury.
But there was a serious point behind the enjoyment, as everyone taking part wanted to show how big the sport is in Bristol, and how much they will miss the city's own rink.
Bristol Ice Rink in Frogmore Street is set to close for the last time on Wednesday, bringing to an end 45 years of skating at the site.
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Campaigners claim aspiring youngsters will be forced to travel long distances, with some giving up all together.
They also say the loss of the attraction – which will be replaced by student flats – will take Bristol off the sporting map.
Professional skater Carla Bessell rallied her troupe of skaters for Saturday's show amid uncertainty about their own future.
The 25-year-old from Brislington told The Post: "The closure is devastating for everyone here today. It's so sad to see what talent there is out there and what these kids can be in the future.
"With the Bristol Ice Rink closing down we could see some young skaters give up on the sport and also their ambitions to become professional. All the skaters' lives are going to change completely.
"There needs to be an alternative for some of the kids.
"If Bristol is serious about sport we need to keep the city on the map by producing the talent. You always hear people moaning about how many kids are on the streets and that they need something better to do – well, in Bristol they are about to take away one of the things which keeps children active and focussed on achieving their goals."
Nia Court, 13, who trains in Bristol with Carla, said: "The ice rink is so important to us because without it there are loads of talented skaters who just won't be able to skate anymore.
"Its a real shame for Bristol."
Hannah Fordham, 15, from Hanham, said: "The closure will mean now we have to take time off school and our parents find time off work to get to Swindon to use proper facilities."
Aimee Grimwood, 15, from Downend, has been skating for eight years at Bristol Ice Rink. She said: "It can be an expensive sport anyway and some of us are struggling to keep it up. If we have to end up travelling too then the cost will put many skaters off."
Liz Bruden, 53, from Downend was watching her daughter Natasha perform.
She said: "It's a huge loss for a city as big as Bristol.
"Loads of teenagers use the rink and now parents like me will have to go to Swindon for proper lessons."
The Post contacted the owners of the ice rink, Unite, but they declined to comment.
Unite has owned the rink for ten years and plans to develop the Frogmore Street building into student flats.