China trip for Ormskirk's skating pensioner

  • Published

A pensioner who was fined for roller skating along a Merseyside street will be a guest of honour at China's National Skating Festival.

Geoff Dornan, from Ormskirk, Lancashire, said he was invited to the three-day event after organisers saw his story on the internet.

The retired youth worker was fined £300 by magistrates for skating in Chapel Street, Southport, in 2008.

The 74-year-old, who took up skating to keep fit, will travel to China in May.

Internet star

"That court case hit the headlines in a major way," he said.

"There was a lot of stuff on the internet about me.

"Apparently in China they see me as a combination of things, somebody who has courageously stood up against what they see as a vicious authority, but also somebody who is seeking to keep himself fit by his own efforts, and they respect that."

Mr Dornan said his skating no longer attracted the attention it once did on his local streets.

"When I first came out, everybody had their eyes on me," he said.

"Nowadays, people notice me and then carry on talking to the person they're with and pay no attention.

"I'm just accepted like the lamp posts these days."

He now plans to launch a campaign to raise money to promote skating as a healthy means of transport.

"I'm determined to break the stereotype, it just seems to have been totally relegated to a teenage ghetto," he said.

"I'm a very good example that you're never too old to skate."