Ice skating star Harry takes on the champs

Figure skater Harry Walford
Figure skater Harry Walford
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A Fylde coast figure skater is soaring to new heights as he prepares to take on the champions at the British Figure Skating Championships.

Harry Walford, 13, from Cleveleys, will compete against 10 other boys from across the UK in the ‘Basic Novice’ category on Tuesday.

Harry in action

Harry in action

The youngster, who is ranked second in the UK in the ‘Basic Novice’ figure skating class, was given the honour of competing in the annual national championship after winning second place in the National Ice Skating Association’s IJS Sheffield competition in August.

He said: “I feel like its quite an achievement to even get into the championships. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done and I’m feeling quite nervous but also excited.

“I don’t know if I will win because some of the other skaters have been doing competitions for a lot longer than I have and know what to expect. This will only be my fifth competition. But I would like to get a place on the podium and be able to say I’m second or third British champion.

“I’ve improved a lot over the past six months and winning second at the Sheffield competition meant I learned a lot about what I was doing well and what I had to improve on.

“I’m good at staying on my feet and doing the ‘double flip’, where you jump and spin around in the air.”

Harry, who started skating when he was just eight-years-old at the Fylde coast Ice Arena, travelled more than 200 miles to Dundee to continue his figure skating with professional trainers Simon and Debi Briggs, who brought Blackpool ice skating coach Joanne Conway to the Winter Olympics in 1988 and 1992.

He said: “My trainers just want the best outcome for me. Just being able to take part in the British championships is a good achievement in itself.”

His mum Sarah said: “I’m so proud of Harry for everything he has achieved. We’ve had so much support from our friends and family in Blackpool.

“I’d like to think he has a real chance of winning at the championships. I think he’s got a bit of an advantage over the girls because they have about 40 or 50 of them competing!

“He’s doing two routines to the theme of ‘The Avengers’ where he will be judged on performance, execution and technique. I think he’s got a really bright future in British figure skating.”