My date on the ice with champ Dan

Gazette reporter Rebecca Draper with ice skaters Karen Barber and Dan Whiston.
Gazette reporter Rebecca Draper with ice skaters Karen Barber and Dan Whiston.
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Ever since ITV’s Dancing on Ice hit our screens back in 2006, hundreds, if not thousands, of people have taken to the ice to learn a new skill.

I am one of them. And after two years of taking lessons, I finally had the opportunity to meet the ice man who, I’d say, has stolen the nation’s hearts – Blackpool’s own skating star, Dan Whiston.

Gazette reporter Rebecca Draper with ice skaters Karen Barber and Dan Whiston.

Gazette reporter Rebecca Draper with ice skaters Karen Barber and Dan Whiston.

The three-times winner of the TV show kindly offered to take me out on the ice with Dancing on Ice judge Karen Barber... and my head’s still spinning.

It started with a quick warm up around the rink at Sub Zero in Cleveleys before a series of forwards and backwards crossovers in the centre circle.

Dan soon joined me, and I was trying to keep up as he danced me around the rink. It’s people like me who Dan and Karen are hoping to get into the sport with the help of their skating masterclasses held all over the country – most recently at Sub Zero.

Dan, who lives in Poulton, said: “We get people who, for them, being on the ice is a first-time experience.

“Then when we come back we see them again, and they’ve taken up lessons after the class with us, maybe bought their own boots, and they’re carrying on with it.

“Everyone enjoys the classes with us and we do hope it leads on to bigger and better things.”

Also like me is Sarah Saxton, who travels north from her home on the Wirral to take part in the classes.

The 26-year-old said: “I started learning because of Dancing on Ice.

“Before, I’d been with friends at weekends but I didn’t know what I was doing.

“When the show came on I decided I’d learn how to skate properly and I got the bug.

“Dan and Karen make the classes fun and give you challenges you wouldn’t normally get with a regular instructor.”

The classes are currently taking a break while Dan tours with Celebrities on Ice.

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