‘Ice-skating was a hobby - now I’ve struck gold’

Young skater Emily Brown
Young skater Emily Brown
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Twinkle-toed Emily Brown is cutting a real dash on the ice.

It is only four years since the Penwortham teenager put on her first set of blades and she is already an international success.

What started out as hobby with a few lessons at Blackburn now keeps mum and dad Esther and Ray – and nanna Ann – on their toes as she travels around the country competing.

Mum Esther, said: “It started out with a few lessons and she progressed so quickly she was put in the GB squad when she was 11. She was ice dance champion in 2014 and got silver medals in figure skating, which isn’t really her thing.”

Although only 13, she was with the 13-15 year-olds and despite dancing being her passion, was recently selected from the squad to represent Great Britain at international competitions in Budapest and London.

She brought home a bronze medal from Budapest, where she was up against some of the cream of Eastern Europe and Esther added: “There was literally only a few points between her and the leader. Considering she is really an ice-dancer and only spends an hour and a half on figure skating a week this was amazing.

“She flew back on the Saturday then went down to an international in London which she won outright.”

Esther, a drama teacher, says she is overwhelmed by her daughter’s ability on the ice. She said: “She is really, really ridiculously talented and just looks as if she was born to be on the ice. I don’t know where she gets it from but she is going the whole way. She has an amazing work ethic. It is phenomenal. She does solo and pairs ice-dancing and is a solo figure dancer.”

Emily is so committed to her skating she trains six times a week – travelling to both Blackburn and Sheffield before school - and still manages to hold her place in the top set at school.

She trains with UK professional and former Dancing on Ice star Mark Hanretty at Sheffield and Kathryn Hudson is her jump and figure coach at Blackburn.

The whole family pitches in, for what Esther described as a very expensive hobby.

Besides working, she also has 11-year-old Harvey to look after so often dad Ray had to do the ferrying to and form training.

She went with her to Hungary to see her win her first international medal.

Grandma Ann also helps out on the financial side by making all Emily’s spectacular costumes.

Esther said: “We are hoping that because Emily is doing so well and has so much potential we will be able to get a sponsor.

“It is a very expensive hobby. We held a race-night among friends and family to raise some money and school has been brilliant. The PTFA made a donation and they have been absolutely wonderful.”