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Ilford grandmother passes the magic of ice skating on to fourth generation

PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 August 2019

Karen Solomon, from Ilford, has been skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre since its doors opened in 1984. Picture: Anita Masih

Karen Solomon, from Ilford, has been skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre since its doors opened in 1984. Picture: Anita Masih

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An Ilford grandmother is passing her passion for ice skating on to the fourth generation, continuing her family's long tradition of skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre.

Karen Solomon, from Ilford, has been skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre since its doors opened in 1984. Picture: Anita MasihKaren Solomon, from Ilford, has been skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre since its doors opened in 1984. Picture: Anita Masih

Karen Solomon is teaching her three granddaughters, aged three, six and seven, to skate at the rink where their parents, grandparents and even great grandparents skated before them.

It all started in 1966 when Karen was on a family holiday in Bournemouth.

"I was five years old and went to an ice show with my parents and my older sister," Karen said. "The next day we tried skating ourselves. We enjoyed it so much that my parents decided that this was going to be our new family activity - something we could all enjoy together."

Back at home, the family started skating every Sunday morning at Queen's Ice Centre in Bayswater.

"We were hooked. My parents didn't have much money, so my sister and I shared a 20-minute lesson learning ice dancing and figure skating. I loved free skating too," Karen said.

After 11 years, Karen took a break from skating.

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When Lee Valley Ice Centre opened in Leyton in 1984, she was 23 years old and married with a young family and she was delighted to have an ice rink on her doorstep at last.

"As soon as I could, I began skating again. I took lessons at the centre and was really happy that I could still skate," she said.

Her parents skated well into their seventies and Karen taught her own children to skate at the rink, so the family was once again reunited on the ice.

Over the years Karen took part in adult dance competitions, synchronised skating and even taught at Israel's first ice rink.

At the age of 50 she qualified as a coach and has been teaching at Lee Valley Ice Centre since 2014.

"I feel privileged to have worked with many different people, encouraging and inspiring them to be the best they can be. I get so much satisfaction from watching people's faces when they master a new skill," she said.

This now includes her granddaughters who are now following in their grandmother's footsteps.

"It's so lovely to be able to pass my passion for this magical activity on to the next generation of our family."

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