Champion figure skater Stacey Kemp will be gliding in to support a Lancashire Hospice where her late father was cared for during his battle with bowel cancer.
Stacey, 24, will be the guest of honour at St Catherine’s Hospice’s first ever Christmas Festival where she will take to the ice at the event’s very own rink.
Stacey, who grew up in Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley and her partner David King, are seven-times British Pair Skating Champions.
They are now based in Florida with their trainer, but will be in England at the end of this month competing to retain their title at the British Championships in Sheffield.
Stacey was thrilled to discover that St Catherine’s Christmas Festival at the hospice in Lostock Hall near Preston coincided with their visit and she has pledged to go along to the event on Saturday December 1 to show her support.
She and David will take to the ice offering skating tips and advice while showing off a few tricks and will also man a hospice collection bucket on the day.
Stacey is keen to help St Catherine’s Hospice as her father David was supported there when he was battling bowel cancer.
David died in 2004 at the age of 44 when Stacey was just a teenager, but she and her family have fond memories of the hospice and the time David spent there over the course of his illness.
Stacey, who has been skating since she was six-years-old after her father, himself a keen skater, introduced her to the ice rink, said: “My dad was ill for quite a long time and I know he went in to stay at the hospice on a few different occasions over that time.
“He also went in for day therapy where he took part in different classes. I remember going along and doing the art therapy sessions with him.
“I’ve got some great memories of my dad in the hospice that I treasure, like when I won my first British Championship when I was 14.
“Dad couldn’t come and watch because he was too poorly, but afterwards I took along all the flowers and teddies I’d received and laid them out on his bed at St Catherine’s. He was so proud.”
Stacey, her mum Lynne and older brothers Shaun and Ian support St Catherine’s Yellow Day each year – a garden party held each June in the hospice grounds - and are looking forward to the new Christmas Festival event.
Stacey, a former pupil at Leyland St Mary’s School and Blackburn College, met David through their coaches while training at Blackburn Blades. Their biggest competition to date has been the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and they are looking ahead to the next Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014, as well as the European Championships in Croatia next January and the World Championships in Canada next March.
Stacey said: “We’re all looking forward to the event at St Catherine’s Hospice and I was really excited when I heard there is going to be an ice rink.
“After all the care St Catherine’s gave to my dad, coming along to the Christmas Festival seems like the ideal way to show my support.”
Rachel Hewitt, head of trading at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “We are very grateful to Stacey and David for coming along and showing their support.
“Their attendance really is the icing on the cake at what promises to be two great days of festive celebrations here at St Catherine’s which will also raise much-needed funds to support our valuable work.”
• St Catherine’s Christmas Festival takes place on Friday November 30 between 2pm and 7pm and Saturday December 1 between 12pm and 7pm.