Cool start to the festive season

Gentle Steps: Chris Morton of Matklock and his daughter Isabella enjoy the ice skating rink in Hall Leys Park.
Gentle Steps: Chris Morton of Matklock and his daughter Isabella enjoy the ice skating rink in Hall Leys Park.

Families got their skates on – and kicked off the festive season in style in Matlock.

Hall Leys Park was a hive of activity at the weekend as residents and visitors made the most of the fresh, sunny weather and took part in some open air skating.

Ice Spectacular: Children enjoy the ice skating rink in Hall Leys Park.

Ice Spectacular: Children enjoy the ice skating rink in Hall Leys Park.

Professional skater Sophie Whittam was joined by the town’s business bosses to officially cut the ribbon at the rink on Thursday evening.

The glamourous Sheffield skater, who scooped silver in the young female category of this year’s British Adult Championships, then gracefully glided round the 14metres by 15metres artificial ice pad.

Organiser and main sponsor Irfan Shabir, who owns Maazi Indian restaurant in Matlock, said businesses across the town had come together to host “Matlock’s biggest event of the year.”

He added: “I was ecstatic with the turnout. It was a fantastic three days and far exceeded my expectations.

Ice Spectacular: Families and children enjoy the ice skating rink in Hall Leys Park.

Ice Spectacular: Families and children enjoy the ice skating rink in Hall Leys Park.

“The rink was operating to full capacity all weekend.”

Over 70 skaters could use the rink at a time with smiling youngsters whizzing round the ice joined by their slightly more wobbly parents.

Mr Shabir said he was inspired to host the event after seeing the crowds turn out for the popular penny farthing racing in the park.

He added: “I’ve had a lot of complements from a lot of people saying how good it was.

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park helped by the local traders who sponsored the event

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park helped by the local traders who sponsored the event

“I’ve spoken to a few businesses and they said their trading was much improved over the weekend with the extra visitors.

“All the businesses that got involved and sponsored the event were very pleased too.

“There will be a lot more interest in the future, if we can create the momentum, to do regular events throughout the year in the park with businesses all pulling together.”

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park

Professional skater Sophie Whittam opens the temporary skating rink in Matlock's Hall Leys Park