WITH all the publicity surrounding Poulton skating sensation Dan Whiston winning hit ITV show Dancing on Ice for the third time, there’s bound to be no shortage of local people wanting to get on the rink.
And the Pleasure Beach ice area’s new commercial manager Jo Conway certainly hopes it stays that way.
As a former Olympic skater, Jo knows a thing or two about the sport. The six-time British champion has just started back at the famous venue, where she has starred in the well-known Hot Ice show herself.
It’s almost a homecoming for the 41-year-old, who previously worked at the Pleasure Beach arena in 2005, working with the coaching staff, before leaving to live in Spain.
Her role will include generating more interest in skating for all ages, as well as promote the arena’s academy for skating stars of the future. She will be working with the coaches to develop the next generation of Dan Whistons and Katie Stainsbys.
Dan – who skated to victory to seize his third Dancing on Ice trophy in Sunday’s show with gymnast Beth Tweddle – starred in the Pleasure Beach’s famous Hot Ice show in 2006.
Jo started her skating career at the tender age of four and a decade later entered the Guinness Book of Records after becoming British Champion at 14.
This was the first of six national titles and a glittering career on the ice, performing at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics in Calgary and Albertville respectively.
She retired from competing following the Albertville Games and turned professional, travelling the world and performing in dozens of shows, including Hot Ice, where she dazzled audiences with her skills on the ice.
She said: “Skating is my passion, I live and breathe it. To be back at Pleasure Beach Arena is a new challenge and one I am very much looking forward to. I know the place well and I know the staff and coaches and I want to help develop their skills to make sure the arena is performing better than ever and taking the venue to the next level.
“From an early age I developed a taste for ice skating which has never gone away.
“I have skated around the world and come back to Blackpool because I feel as though this is where I belong. The arena has been teaching people to skate for more than 70 years and I want to be part of the next generation who teaches them a skill and help them use it to the best of their ability.
“I have a great relationship with the owners of Pleasure Beach and they have given me chance to take on this challenge – I cannot wait to get started. In a few years time I would like to have developed a successful skating academy, which we can proud of and a place where people want to come and learn to skate.”