Last year Littleport based Ely Roller Skating Club achieved the best ever tally of medals, beating all records by winning 67 medals from 10 competitions. As well as clinching the title Visitors Club for the best performing club. And the record speaks for itself with a team of 35 and 27 skaters winning at least one medal a year.
The Club competes in various levels of competitions from Galas, to National and British Championships, under the auspices of The Federation of Artistic Roller Skating.
The skaters train in three disciplines, Figures, Free and Dance, and spend their weekends travelling around the country competing in numerous events representing the Club.
Ely RSC has been in existence since 1986 and their current Head Coach Brian Paddington took the helm in 1999 and built the club, from when they had no competition skaters, to producing five British champions. And the beauty of the sport is that you can begin from any age with the Club boasting of budding skaters from as young as 5 years old to the oldest being in their 20’s.
Even though some of the skaters live outside Littleport, the village itself has some great achievers. Like 11 years old Kira Simmonds, who after she passed her skating test qualified to compete in the British Championships this year.
Littleport Life Magazine caught up with this fun loving, likeable and approachable young skater and her hardworking Mum, Lisa, during one of their many busy weekly training sessions at Littleport’s Leisure Centre, who both took some time-out to have a chat.
Kira was first introduced to the sport 3 years ago through a friend who was doing her skating grades at the time.
“Roller Skating is a lot of fun, but it certainly isn’t easy either. I do know that I have to polish up on my jumps,” said Kira, who admitted that her Coach Brian, can be rather strict at times, but, “He just wants us to do well, and always gives his honest opinion,” Kira confided. In her last competition when she was skating in last year’s Federation of Artistic Roller Skating’s Winter Solo event, Kira bagged a gold medal when she had least expected it.
“In my very first competition in the Newcomers Category in Great Yarmouth 2016, I came 4th and then I was placed 4th again last July in Cardiff, but in that competition, the standard I felt was really high,” stated Kira, who has since improved to such an extent that she had not only won one gold medal as previously mentioned, but another gold, winning the pairs trophy with her skating partner Lauren Reed last December.
Pursuing any sport can be expensive, and in Kira’s case a set of wheels can cost £100 a time, plus there is the travelling to and from events, and the attire that she has to wear. Luckily for the Club they have a couple of willing helpers in one of the skaters mother’s, Alice Figgins, and Coach Brian’s wife Carol, who both make the dresses for the skaters, which does help them save a bit of money. Both the club and young Kira are always on the lookout for a local sponsor to help them achieve their goal and more successes.
In fact, according to her Mum, Lisa, it does depend on the skater how many boots they need, and in Kira’s case she owns three second hand pairs of boots – one for figures, one for free and the other for dance. The cost can also vary from £150 for a second-hand pair of boots to £250 up to £400 for a brand new pair, but as Mum, Lisa pointed out; “We always ensure that Kira has a brand new pair of wheels every time she wears them out”.
Dad John, a computer software engineer and Mum Lisa, a registered child minder were originally from Sheffield, but feel very much part of the Littleport community having lived here for 15 years as they continue to help finance and support Kira in her roller skating career, while their eldest daughter, Halle at 14, who is naturally proud of her little sister, is quite happy to be supportive and take part in her own sports activity with the Ely Runners along with Kira who is also a member.
As well as Kira Simmonds, Littleport can also boast that within this successful Ely Roller Skating Club there are local skaters to also look out for, and they are Amiee and Teegan Bowen, Abby Trense, and Bryony Shelton.
The Club will be holding their very own Gala in Cambridge which you can read more about in our summer issue.