Torvill & Dean: Bristol Ice Rink closure is 'sad thing'

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
Image caption Torvill and Dean join fellow Olympic medallist Robin Cousins in speaking out against the ice rink closure

Olympic gold medal ice skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean have spoken out against the planned closure of Bristol Ice Rink.

The Unite group, which owns the site in Trenchard Street, said it was planning to turn the site into student accommodation.

Ms Torvill said: "To have a facility where you can begin to skate at a grass-roots level is really important."

"Any time an ice rink closes, I think it's a sad thing," added Mr Dean.

He said: "The community is losing something, and every time we hear of one closing we do our best to lend our names to it and try and keep it open."

Their comments come just weeks after fellow Olympic gold medallist ice skater and Dancing on Ice colleague Robin Cousins also spoke of his sadness at the closure.

'Fond memories'

The Bristolian said he had "fond memories" of the rink and urged council leaders to find a site for a new one as soon as possible.

He added: "I'm very sad to hear that having survived more than a few close shaves in the past, after 40 years the Bristol Ice Rink will finally close."

On 3 February, about 100 people, including members of the Pitbulls ice hockey team and Synchronised Skating Club who train at the rink, marched in protest through Bristol city centre.

The ice rink opened in 1966 and its current lease expires next year. Unite said that subject to receiving planning permission, the proposed flats could be ready by September 2014.

A full interview with Torvill and Dean will appear on Inside Out on BBC One West at 19:30 GMT.

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