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Blackpool Roller Coasters, the town's first all female roller derby team

Blackpool Roller Coasters, the town's first all female roller derby team

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It’s a sport some may only be familiar with from films such as Whip It and Roller Derby.

But at the weekend, Blackpool’s first all-female roller derby team will play its first public match.

The newly-formed Blackpool Roller Coasters will take on a team made up of gay 
female players from across the country, known as The Vagine Regime UK.

The local league has come a long way since its humble 
beginnings 18 months ago, where a group of roller-skating fans came together in a tiny community hall in 
Bispham.

Now, the league has 60 
co-ed skaters from all walks of life, spanning an age range of 19 to late 40s – women and men.

And some have now formed the women’s team.

To them – roller derby is not just a sport, it’s a way of life.

Kate Doran, one of the founders of the league, discovered roller derby while at university in Salford and ,when she moved back to Blackpool, had intended to keep attending and training – but she found out she was pregnant with her second child.

The 31-year-old, from central Blackpool, said: “I realised it wasn’t very practical to try to get from Blackpool to Manchester for training and games, with me having two young children, so I set up a Facebook group to see if anyone would be interested in Blackpool.

“We had our first session in November 2012, at Bispham Community Hall, which is very small. We borrowed skates from the local roller-skating disco. Now we have built it up to 60 skaters.

“It’s just so much fun. I love it because it’s physical exercise, it keeps you fit, I enjoy the competitive nature of the sport, but also there is a great social side, too.

“We have all built friendships through roller derby, it brings all ages and all backgrounds together through the love of the sport. There is always a friendly rivalry with other teams.

“We can’t wait for our first game in Blackpool, it’s a great venue and we hope it will help raise the profile of the sport.

“Anyone can come down and watch. Our families and friends are coming to cheer us on. Hopefully it will make for a good atmosphere.”

Team-mate Melanie Coy was persuaded to try roller derby about a year ago by her sister Leanne, who had already joined the league.

Melanie, 31, of South Shore, said: “I was looking for a different form of exercise, I don’t like the gym. I used to ice skate until I had my son.

“And my sister said I should try roller derby and took me along. I wasn’t sure before I went, because of the bumping into people. I was a bit scared. But once I tried it, I loved it.

“I love the way it’s such a real community – it’s people from all backgrounds, of different ages, with different beliefs, who would probably never have met each other.

“I’ve made some great friends through the game.

“I think people have a 
stereotype in their minds of it being rough and tough girls, but it’s not like that.

“It can be quite dangerous – so we wear pads and protective headwear and it is competitive, but everybody is so friendly and there are strong bonds of friendship. After a bout, we will have drinks and celebrate with the opposing team.”

And Charlotte Seed, who is 29 and lives in Carleton, said: “I used to go the roller disco at Palatine on a Friday night and the organisers asked if I would be interested in trying roller derby, so I thought I would give it a go.

“When we started at first, the hall was so small, we couldn’t do our laps. And I was like Bambi when I started, so it isn’t just for people who can already skate.

“The first thing everyone learns and works on is basic skating skills. And most 
people aren’t naturals.

“The league is like family. It’s just brilliant! It keeps you fit and it’s good fun.

“We get together, have a laugh and kick butt!”

Blackpool Roller Coasters will play its first public match on Sunday, at the Norbreck Castle, Queens Promenade, at noon.