Home » Learn » The Roller Skate Dad Podcast » UK Artistic Roller Skating Performer, Coach & Organizer Dave Nicholls – 015

UK Artistic Roller Skating Performer, Coach & Organizer Dave Nicholls – 015

Roller Skating Saved My Life

On this week’s episode, I speak with UK artistic roller skating performer, coach and community organizer, Dave Nicholls. As a teenager, Dave grew up in the slums of Sheffield, England. Expelled from high school and with nowhere to go, his uncle took him to start roller skating. Dave met his roller skating coach, joined a traveling artistic skating team and began touring as a professional roller skater all over the United Kingdom.

Dave and I sat down for an extended 2 hour+ interview, so today’s episode is part 1 of 2. Part 2 will air in episode 16.

In today’s episode, Dave and I discuss:

  • Growing up as a teenager in Sheffield and how he came to roller skating.
  • His time as a professional artistic roller skater traveling across the UK.
  • How a skating injury ended his career at a young age.
  • And finally we begin talking about the Ipswich Skating Club – a skating club that Dave founded and coaches at to help underprivileged youth in the UK.

Show Notes

Here are links to the items Dave and I discussed during the show.

  • Ipswich Skating Club – The skating club Dave coaches at and founded.
  • Kenny Wright – Played R2D2 in Star Wars and skated with Dave in two ice skating shows in Blackpool. Dave says Kenny played the cat in Puss in Boots and one of the dwarves in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
  • Jocelyn Taylor – Roller skating coach who taught many national and international roller skating champions in the UK.

Episode 15 Transcript

Jeff: Hey everybody welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. This is episode number 15. Let’s get started.

Announcer: Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. The show that covers everything and anything in the wonderful world of roller-skating. Now here’s your host the Roller Skate Dad himself, Jeff stone.

Jeff: Hey everybody welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. I want to thank you guys so much for being here/ in today’s episode I have Dave Nicholls from the Ipswich skating club in the United Kingdom on the show. Today Dave is a roller-skating coach and community organizer. But as a teenager he performed as a professional artistic roller skater in shows all across the United Kingdom. Dave and I sat down for an extended interview. We talked about his past and how roller skating pulled him out of the slums of Sheffield. He talked about his time as a performer and finally we begin talking in this episode about his return to skating after 25 years. Dave and I spoke for over two hours. So, this first episode is going to be all about Dave’s history. Next week’s episode will cover his founding and coaching of the Ipswich skating club. Alright everyone let’s start the interview. Hi Dave, how are you.

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Dave: I’m very well. I’m talking from England at the moment and it’s a rather overcast day, but apart from that I’m great.

Jeff: Well it’s good to talk to you again and yeah, it’s kind of nice here today in Austin. It’s supposed to be about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So, a very nice march day. I was curious I think my audience would be really interested first and just getting to know a little bit about you. So, I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about how you got into skating.

Dave: I got into skating at the age about 4. I came from a rather disengaged family. My mother had been a dancer, my father had been a professional musician and he didn’t get on too well on certain occasions. So, when they’d had one of the bigger fights, my mother would ring up her brother Bill and he would come and collect us and put us in his land rover and take us down to the middle of nowhere and the middle of nowhere was place called Swindon and Swindon was a roller rink and the whole of the Humphrey family, which is what his family was skated. He got two daughters, he got two sons they did quite well sort of nationally and he took me down to this Swindon rink at the age of four.

Dave: I saw a lady called Jocelyn Taylor skate. Who was a gold medalist. She did incredibly well, she was coming towards the end of her career. But you know you saw this lady put in sequins who was look like she was straight out of a Disney movie. So, what happened, I got home my uncle decided that he would pay for skating lessons for me. So, I finished up at a place, I came from Sheffield that’s where we lived, industrial parts of England really at that time. Finished up skating at a rink in attractive. Which was a very industrialized bit of Sheffield.

Dave: I suppose that if you were looking at it you would probably say it was a slum. If you were looking at it in New York terms, Brownsville with each New York that sort of the place. So, what happened was I started skating. One of the rink professionals that was the South African national champion past champion with his Scottish wife. Edie being a professional skater forever before the war, he was a training sergeant in the south African army in the war, so he didn’t mess him about. He gave me a very very strong role model, looked after me. They hadn’t got kids.

Dave: I was finished up really as more as a feral kid and I was brought up by the rink of the local cutlass in Sheffield these are guys who make knives, a knife trade they took me in. The rink looked after me. I didn’t really bother with school, didn’t see the point with it. At the age of 13 I managed to get myself permanently excluded from the school. Within three months he’d got me into the ice show, because I did ice as well.  He got me into the ice shows in Blackpool. How can I describe Blackpool? I suppose about as near in Britain as you ever get to Las Vegas.

Dave: They used to call it the Las Vegas of the town. Lots of lights, place where people went to just enjoy themselves. Realistically you know year 14 you think you’ve landed in heaven, earning three times what your father was in a nice warm bed, lots of food and for the first time ever I’ve got a family. You were a part of something. Because I was so young they had to provide an education for me. I got introduced to this lady called miss Minto who just looked at me and said right David sit down I know why you’ve been excluded at school, not taught you how to teach. I know why you are here. I’ve told your coach, good. You will listen, you will do as you’re told you do well in your studies otherwise you lose this job in a week. Do I make myself clear? Oh yes miss very clear and she take the double first from Cambridge university in mathematics and philosophy. Sort of 27-year-old woman and a fantastic teacher. An absolutely fantastic teacher.

Dave: By the time I was 17, I’ve got things called a-levels, I got five of them. Most people took three. She managed to get me very very interested in mathematics and it was great. I mean so professional skater at 14, carry on till I was sort of 17 when I had a rather bad accident which smashed my leg in. But the skating scene then was very very different than it was today. There was an all for the skating, roller skating done in Great Britain. All the seaside towns had roller rinks. You probably don’t have this sort of thing in the states and never have. But you had places like bookends and pond tins which were called holiday camps. All the working-class people after the war, very a lot of austerity in Britain.

Dave: But these guys worked out this on idea that you’d pay a certain amount, you’d go to this place, you’d have these little chalets that you could sort of sleep in and you paid no more. Everything was supplied for you. You’ve got up in the morning, you went to a food hall. Bit like a military mess. You got fed. You then have these things called red coats or blue coats who sort of ordered you about and said right what you’re going to do now is you’re going to go swimming, or you are going to go skating or anybody want to learn to ballroom dance? Why don’t we go, and everything was planned, everything was done? But you know you’ve got an incredible grip for your week or two weeks of the year. They’ve got these places, virtually all of them have skating rinks. Because of that there was a thriving skating scene.

Jeff: It sounds kind of like summer camp here in the states.

Dave: That’s probably the nearest to it. I know the American summer camps what they were like. The difference with this it was families. They provided a whole, do the summer camps deal with families or just the kids?

Jeff: Yeah, it’s usually just the kids. Parents usually send their kids to summer camp, so the parents can have a week or two off.

Dave: With this different thing. What happened was the fact that the parents, everybody went to these summer camps, Pontins or bookends and you still got away from the kids. At night you could leave your kids, they have shown at night and they have nurses that would go around to make sure the kids were alright and not too much mayhem was caused. In the daytime you could leave your kids with the red codes and things. They will be looked after, there were loads of activities with the kids. It was fantastic. Not something that my family would ever been able to afford or done. But the thing is that as a skater one of the things we do did was we went around, and we put on, we demonstrate about these places. So, you know you and basically earned your money. They had working men’s clubs. So, you went around, and you did spots. We had a 16-foot circle which went down a bit like a, well jigsaw really fitted together. But it made a better stay a stable surface that you knew very well. So, when you’re taking the girls off the floor and spinning around everything else.  You know you knew the surface and it could be put up anywhere. Could pick up in a restaurant anywhere. So, there was a whole for about three, four years. My life was about skating and doing them, doing stuff like that and you know I mean quite frankly at that age could you ask for anything else?

Jeff: So that’s interesting. So, you’re so you were in regular school. You got expelled, you got kicked out of school. You have this teacher basically who kind of takes you under their wing and you also have these skating lessons that you were doing as well. But the skating lessons then turned into you being in this like traveling roadshow it almost sounds like.

Dave: In Blackpool it was a bit off. Because the thing is you have a thing called pantomimes. Which were really normally only done in the winter months. But you also have these which were very pantomime like. So, the thing is you’ve got a skating show which would be something like snow white the seven dwarfs. The whole thing was put together as a sort of theatrical production and they would go on for about five months of the year. The rest of the time you’d be out doing a working men’s clubs, the star cinema chain. There was a star that was mecca, there was a chain of men’s outfitters in Britain burton’s and what these places did, they were in most towns. But they didn’t just have a shop or a dance hall if it was something like stars and just a cinema.

Dave: What they did is they put two or three things together. So, you’ve got the cinema with maybe a dance form or skating rink underneath it or on top of it and often you have a billiard hall as well. So, burtons was noted, it always had a ballroom or a skating rink and a billiard hall there. So, the premises were basically safe because they were working 18,19 hours per day. You know somebody was skating they won’t be much less they’ve got an outfitter. You go there, you get the things that you want to wear for your ballroom or whatever. If you went to a star cinema you’d might go to the star cinema once a week to see the cinema.

Dave: But another day you could go to the same facility and you could skate, or you could go and play snooker. Mecca which was very very big would in Sheffield when they moved into Sheffield, they built the silver blaze ice rink which have a bowling ring underneath it and a nightclub on top. So, people would visit the same place three, four time a week to do different activities. So, you’ve got a very good business model. You’ve got a clientele that were going to stay quite loyal to you. Because it will be there for some considerable time and as they got older, they might move from skating on to. You get the idea?

Jeff: I do. It’s like a little entertainment complex base.

Dave: It worked, it really worked.

Jeff: So what kind of skating did you do?

Dave: I was really artistic. I did do some speed. But when I started out I was a free skater. I like jumping and spinning, because I’ve got a bit of status and most people thought that you know the sort of school I went to you know you were a bit odd if you did something like skating that have put on sequins and stuff like that. I quite liked it. But when I was eleven Caldecott my coach said right you’re never going to have wanted me to be a professional skater. These guys were amazing, I think I mentioned you this before. For 17 years him and his wife taught skating on tour boats? Now can you believe that?

Jeff: On tour boats?

Dave: Tour boats, yeah. Now these aren’t the modern ones. They’ve got these little thin things that keep them stable. They used to teach skating and ball room dancing. Because a lot of the big liners had a ballroom floor. So, what they would do they would teach one or two sessions of ball room and then they’d keep the kids amused and things all the families by doing a skating session. They would do this from south Africa to south America. They’d do a couple of weeks of cabaret, skating cabaret there. They would then get another tour boat and do the same thing going out somewhere else and they did this consistently for 17 years. How the heck they did it I don’t know.

Jeff: Wow so they were actually then on these cruise ships basically teaching roller-skating and ballroom dancing, but then also doing a show?

Dave: Yeah show as well. See the thing is they could do it either way. They could the skating show on the circle, so swinging around like crazy. She was very that six and a half stone and he was a very big powerful strong bloke and they developed this since, they were known worldwide. I mean I think if you look on them, well the thing is they were so long ago. It might not be that much on the internet. But I have found them on there. But they were incredible people. But at the age of 11, he decided he was going to turn me into a dancer. Which I really didn’t want to do. Because I just didn’t, and you can argue with him. You don’t argue with an ex African training sergeant. It doesn’t work. You know it just didn’t. So, he just said, and I can’t do that, he said boy you’re going to be a bloody dancer. I said I don’t want to.  You don’t argue, you don’t pay for anything money.

Dave: I teach you, push you good lad and you’ll do well, and I like you. But you do as you’re told son and you know there’s no messing about. He didn’t take prisoners literally. But I actually remember him when he said that, and he reminded me about two years later. He tapped me on the shoulder and he said trust me boy by the time you get to 14 you’ll bloody thank me for this and I didn’t get it. But the thing is when I was 13 and a bit, he introduced me. He got this ability to get people to do what he wanted, and he taught in more places in Sheffield and he got a guy to move up from Watford which is a long way about 120 miles from Sheffield. closed his job down with same company but come to Sheffield with his daughter and his wife so that the Chris green he could actually skate with me and he thought about that two years before and this girl was magical. She’s beautiful, four years older than me of course at that time I am hell of a lot better skater. But he thought we’d work once again and got this guy to give up his job, move jobs within the firm come up to the industrial north in Watford, which is near London and that’s a big track and move there just so his daughter would skate with me.

Jeff: Wow that’s amazing.

Dave: The guy was amazing and the first time he got on the rink and she was stunningly beautiful and at 14 of course, 13 all you’re thinking about is girls or I was, and he got this very platinum blonde hair sort of skating around this rink and you’re looking at it. Because frankly just couldn’t take, she was gorgeous, and I’ve looked back end of I was awful, and he just looked at me sat down next to me and I was watching, he said do you like your new partner then? What? Yeah, she’s the girl you are going to skate with the next few years boy.  Told you you’d thank me. It’s amazing, just amazing them and she was the girl that I skated with in Blackpool and we did all the rest of the stuff with. She eventually when I got smashed up, she went, and you can probably look up in the record. She went over to Canada. She took one of these assisted trips to Canada with the guy that she’d been skating before me, they got married which didn’t go well. But they did quite well dance over in the Canadian associations. Both in ice and roller. She liked me preferred roller.

Dave: But ice will earn you more money and at that time frankly you know it was a job. I loved it. But basically, it paid the rent. So, the whole of my family, my mother had died at 11. Poor dad is trying to bring up my brother. He detained it very very badly indeed. Last 2 or 3 years were awful for everybody. But as a young kid you don’t really get it. Later on, you realized that he should have had her institutionalized, but wouldn’t. Because he loved her so much. He just wasn’t prepared to put her in an institution. I mean you should anyway. But he looked after her, but it ruined his health. It finished his business. So quite a bit of the money I was earning was going to try.

Jeff: If you don’t mind me asking what did your mother pass from? What happened?

Dave: She had a heart condition. She’d had although at the time I didn’t know any of this, I found out it later. She got a rheumatic heart. She had rheumatic fever when she was young. That causes the heart to increase in size, because it’s got to do more of the work. Now she is being a professional dancer and until eventually she just sort of basically just passed out and they didn’t really understand a lot of this at that time. I think dancing was the only thing that she’d really ever been any good at and really liked losing that affected her health, she smoked like mad, she drank like mad elf just deteriorated and she died at 33.

Jeff: That had to be really tough to lose your mom that early.

Dave: No no I hated it. I mean the thing is she was very very physical. I mean looking back none of it was their fault at the time.  This is one of the reasons I was such a passed at school really. Looking back nothing was their fault. Although at the time I thought very little of my father. You realize what a fantastic man he was. He loved that woman so much to put up with all of that and not giving. It virtually destroyed him.  But the thing is he cared so much about her that he was going to look after to the end. Problem is of course my bad brother who was 5 when messed is my fault and it didn’t do a lot for mine. I was looking to get out of it. My family was you know, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been involved in that sort of thing, but they’re very close. You look after each other. You’ve got to rely on people. Because if not somebody’s going to get hurt you know, and I was looking at people like that that looked after me, brought me up.

Dave: Turned a horrible little soul, I always used to say I’ve considered myself to be extremely well balanced. I’ve got a huge chip on each shoulder. You know I thought the world had hated me and the first ice pantomime we were in was snow white and the seven dwarfs and they actually have seven skating dwarfs in this thing right. One of the guys, I can’t even remember his name. Now the guy who played r2d2 in Star Wars, he was in it. Fantastic guy you know and just a wonderful lovely man. But the thing is before he went into things like that he was an agent. He’s a very very good agent. But before he did that, he started out as a skater and always remember one of these guys and it wasn’t him, it was one of the other blokes turning around to me when I was moaning and bitching and saying look you know what the hell do you think you’ve got to complain about?

Dave: Look at me and I looked at him and he was, his lower body and thing was grossly deformed, and he said I’m in pain didn’t you get it. I’m in pain all the time when I’m doing this. But look what it’s done for me. Look I’ve got money, I’ve got a good job, I’ve got status, I’ve got friends around me, girls like me and I have fun. You’ve got to realize son you make your own life. You don’t bitch, you don’t complain, you get on with it and these guys turn a horrible for kid into something else. Because they were very kind.  It was tough thirteen, fourteen you are expected to pull your weight as far as they were concerned you were there. You were in the same level they were. You did the same job. I learned an awful lot about myself and an awful lot about life in those three or four years. Which has to be in very good good times, very good times.

Jeff: That’s really interesting. So, were you guys performing like every week?

Dave: We were performing six days a week. It’s every damn day and you know sometimes when you got a half day off or whatever you’d be out at a bookman’s rink doing something there was a full-time full-on job. The thing is I was doing this at thirteen and fourteen. Plus, I’ve got a good academic stuff. Of course, little miss Minto would not let me get away with anything. She didn’t care. The first couple of years we were in chorus and then we principals. Which means that we had a bit more money and we did spots and they got to do so many jumps in those spots. You sign the contract, you got to do so many doubles and things. But the thing is depending on how you’re feeling on the tape you can put whatever doubling you want. Because quite frankly, rather it’s terrible. But the audiences did. All you’ve got to do is get a good show and not fall over. You didn’t have to do anything difficult. Because as far as they were concerned everything you were doing was difficult. Upon the skates is difficult and they got the right attitude, because they were in Blackpool or they’ve come to see you in a show somewhere else. You know often we do shows at the local skating rinks. What fairly local going down to Gatling places like that. Because of course if you went and did that then they come over to Blackpool to watch you. Because then they get the full shot. It was a very very commercial operation skating at that time. People made money out of it. Now of course it’s not quite the same.

Jeff: So, it was very much like going to a play nowadays except it was on roller skates.

Dave: Yes, it really was. The star ballroom used to have foreign competition you know in ballroom dancing and where you’ve got a ballroom competition, what happens is you’ve got to do the judging. So normally they would put a couple of professionals doing a professional turn after that these, if these are amateur competitions. So, the thing is that then you can see somebody’s quite good at it. We got it. we used to prepare skates and bear in mind at this time we were often on the composite wooden wheels, which slip like mad on the ballroom floor. Well we got a way of preparing these things, so we didn’t slip, only last about three or four minutes that we got to change the wheel down. But we specialized, we did other things. But what we really love doing with jitterbug jive and rock and roll. So, you know they’d have a rock and roll competition, jive and do all these. There’s always the same thing.

Dave: Right now, we’ve got to do the marking. We’re now going to introduce you to two young kids who are going to do jive rooting for you. But they’re going to do it slightly differently. Because they’re going to do it on roller-skates. So, we were the turn that kept people amused, but they paid us for it and actually we learned a tremendous amount.  The only thing and you see that the reason Caldecott organized all this they taught ballroom as well. They got it, they totally got it. All the ballroom dancer has got is line and form, they’ve got nothing else. But their line and form is superb. It’s got to be, because it’s all they’ve got. Most skating today, I think people are better. But I would always say that most or most skaters, we were lucky we weren’t in competitions or, so they’ve helped us. We obviously loved it and we were young, and you didn’t get them, yet professional ballroom dancers say now, and I said you got that wrong. And these tiny little adjustments they made makes so much difference to our performance when we’re skating is incredible.

Jeff: You know what did you actually like about skating. I mean it seems like it really kind of was an inflection point in your young childhood as far as you know going from being expelled and kicked out of school into a skate family quite honestly is what it sounds like and so I’m just curious you know was there enjoyment that you actually got from skating? I know sometimes when you’re making money it can kind of dilute the enjoyment part of it.

Dave: I mean it was a boost. We were working all the time. By that I mean physically working with training all the time. I was doing something I loved. I was doing with people I’m trusted as you say we’re a family. A very close-knit family that looked after you. It was just great. You know the other thing is to be with people that you care about that seem to care about you to be doing something you want to do, for the first time in my life I was achieving something and reckoned and thought I was achieving something that mattered to other people. It was wonderful. I mean you know you got an awful lot out of it. I realized that I wasn’t stupid and thick. I got the academic side as well. I was achieving. I could see that there was a potential for me in life which before I’ve never seen.  You went back to basically the slums of Sheffield and you’ve thought well don’t really want to be here anymore. Don’t ever want to be in here. Just want to be, I mean you know at 14, 15, 16 you’re under lights and spotlights all the time. You’re being fed well. You know people see you and that’s the guy in the show, that’s the guy in the show. I mean tell me any boy that age that wouldn’t want that.

Jeff: So, I take it your family life before all that when you weren’t with the skating family but your traditional family I guess it wasn’t you weren’t.  The attention or the.

Dave: Let’s don’t go in to too much detail. But we’ll be fair to say it wasn’t like that. It’s been an awfully long time, but I tend not to talk. It couldn’t have gotten much worse.

Jeff: So, you were spending most year time then with your skating family?

Dave: I was spending every minute I could. I went home just to give them money, because they needed money and I still regarded myself as having the responsibility. But that was all, there was nothing else for me there.

Jeff: So, did you guys actually travel as a family, the skating family and like live together or how did that work?

Dave: When you were up in Blackpool. The rest of the time when we were, and this was really, his wife, my sole friend Chris when we were doing things at the working men’s clubs that’s all over the north or restaurants or rinks or things like that. Then what will happen you get in a car, you’d go to bottoms Minehead or you’ll be there for two or three days. Sort of cruise around the rink in the daytime, do a bit of teaching. Just make yourself known really, so they come to the show and then you do an exhibition usually one in the afternoon, one in the early evening if they got spot mics on the rink or if it was indoors.

Dave: If you were doing something at a skating rink, because there were a fair number of proper skating rinks and this could be with making whatever you’d go up often for two days or one day. You’d do a skating shop one day. You then go on to the next town. You’d spend things up there, you’d do another one there. So, you may be doing three four nights in a week. One might be at a restaurant, one might be at working men’s club, two about rinks. So, you’d go over three or four towns, do that and then you’d go wherever. On occasions I was in Sheffield, I was back in Sheffield and really liked it there. But when I did, I’d stay with Chris’s family. Because it was nice and staying with my own family. But that’s was nearly four years, that’s what we did. That was talking. Basically, I mean if you enjoy your job you never really work a day in your life. So, I was doing this sort of thing 45,50 weeks a year and you get a lot better very fast when you are doing things all the time.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Dave: And the thing is that I still don’t reckon we were technically as good as a lot of people out there. But the thing is we were very good show people. We showed out a lot. We gave a good performance and frankly that’s what people are playing for.  They’re not paying to see the technical side of your skating. Because they don’t really understand that and if you did a good turn or a bad turn or good turn or a bad jump they wouldn’t know the difference unless you fell over. What they would see is how you display that jump. Nobody likes a little snotty nosed kid who’s earning three times what you’re earning.  We really weren’t very popular wasn’t very popular. Jocelyn Taylor who is the lady I told you about in many ways wasn’t very popular. Because she’s one of the few people that actually made money out of skating. If you were professional, you really weren’t liked in skating circles.

Jeff: You’ve mentioned it a couple times as we were talking, and he said that it was all good until it all ended or until it stopped. I was curious what exactly. Did something, did you have an injury, or did something occur?

Dave: Yes, I got Chris in a fairly high lift, which at that time you did see him but not specialties, often the girls are fantastically comfortable there and she twisted, and Conti always used to say let the silly cow drop and she bloody does it again let drop. Well you don’t feel like you know, and he was quite right. You should just move away. She was noted on occasions just lost concentration with a couple seconds on occasions. Well a fraction of a second sometimes things would go wrong. But of course, what happened was, I tried to save her. There’s not much you can do. The girl knows she’s going to come down. Then it doesn’t happen very often. But the thing is that if you get in the way you’re underneath and I was underneath, and she landed on my right leg and that was it basically. So, after that I remember looking down at it and sort of thinking what is that little white… Oh yeah that bits of bone sticking out than passing out and passing out a couple times in the ambulance getting back and I was lucky I had a brilliant physio. But it will be from what they told stick after that. Because they had a lot of metal in it and I was lucky. I have a fantastic physio. He didn’t think I’d ever do any sport again. He started me to fence because once they got all the pottery off me and things, the wastage on that right leg was awful you know, and he started me to fence, because I was in pain all the time and he done some fencing in the army.

Dave: So of course, it meant I’ve still got limited mobility on the right leg with regards to turning as you were to you know get an edge. So, you know fast forward, didn’t skate for twenty odd years that went into fencing, won the British students’ championships for them and won the British Yorkshire master-at-arms, fence for Great Britain, did a tour in Olympic cycles and never ever thought I would skate again. Now came back to skating my daughter, who she didn’t even know I’d skated ever. Because I never talked about that. But what happened was at the age of seven, eight there was a rink near us at Martha. We live in a place called phoenix down there. Martha was just on the road back ten miles down the road and there was a rink there and she went to a birthday party. One of these skating parties down there and she really liked it. So, it was daddy daddy can we go skating. Yeah okay I honestly didn’t think like this would ever the way I’d have to work for skating. So, I got a second pair of skates and put them on and of course all the other stuff I’ve done. Then they’ve got an awful lot stronger and more important I’ve learned how to use it in the state it was.

Dave: Obviously competitive skating was out. But I started skating, she enjoyed it. The rink professional their guy could ask him or who oddly enough was the son of woman that started everything off. Started teaching charlotte. We paid for lessons and he didn’t really, we used to her the snail. Because he thought she was too slow, and she doesn’t make anything. He just didn’t get on well with kids. A very good skater. I mean you’re talking about somebody who an ice and roller medal. Just came fourth every time which is just awful. Brilliant choreographer, but he hated kids. He just didn’t like kids at all. Technically the guys was superb. But he said one day will you start teaching the kids? So, I started teaching the kids you know I like to teach them, could do it fairly well. So that worked, and it wasn’t working with him and charlotte. Because my daughter is very bright and she’s like me as she can’t understand something, she physically can’t do. It’s a mind block. Unless you understand something, she can’t do it. I’m the same. I’ve got to understand something and why I’m doing something and this guy as a lot of coaches do, I’ll just do it. I just want you there, hit my spot. just do it.

Dave: Well I’m sorry but my daughter couldn’t do it, I never could and one day this woman walked in and I knew that josh was his mother. I haven’t seen her for 25 years and she came up behind me and just came straight up something grabbed me by the shoulders.  My god its Dave Nicholls, I thought you were dead, and my nickname was tilly, and I actually didn’t know I knew her, and I’d kept running into this lady when we was skating professionally and of course I dropped out the scene so quickly that you know she knew I wasn’t dead. But she well I said well it’s not really you know and she’s a bloody good coach, but I am not working with charlotte. Then he’d actually said to her that you know he didn’t ever think you’d be any good and are just terrible and so josh said look I said would you you won’t mess about. She said yeah but there’s a deal and you can work. You coach with me. I’m in Colchester, I need somebody else to coach with me you know what you’re doing. I said I haven’t done this in years josh. You know teaching little kids just to stand up really. we were there for 5, 6 years. While she was teaching charlotte, I learned a lot from josh. Again, she didn’t exactly suffer forms. But the thing is it worked together, I learnt a lot. Charlotte eventually finished up what and she won last year. But she’s been the British senior ladies figure champion for last seven years. The skating started off twenty-two years ago in Ipswich and it’s continued ever since really.

Jeff: All right everybody I think that’s a good place to stop this episode and it gives you a little bit of background on Dave and where he came from and a little bit about his skating history and background. In the next episode I’m going to be talking with Dave a whole lot more about the Ipswich skating club that he both founded as well as coaches in today and as you can tell from Dave’s story he himself grew up in the slums of Sheffield and really roller skating saved his life and now Dave is actually using the Ipswich skating club to help other children who are on the streets. So that’s all for next week and I hope that you’ll tune in and they will check it out.

Jeff: If you would like to get more information about today’s show or get a transcript of the show, please be sure to check out the show notes. The show notes are a great place to leave me a comment or ask a question or to find links of anything that we talked about during the show. To get to the show notes for this episode go to www.rollerskatedad.com/15.

Jeff: If you’ve been listening to the Roller Skate Dad podcast you know here at the end I always ask you for a rating and a review on your favorite podcasting platform. Downloads, ratings and reviews are how podcasts get ranked on many of the platforms. So, if you’d like to help the Roller Skate Dad podcast out, I’d really appreciate a rating and a review wherever you listen and thank you.

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Jeff: All right everybody that’s another episode in the books. I want to thank you guys so much for being here and until next week get on out there and skate.

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Wrapping Up

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Jeff Stone

Jeff Stone started the website RollerSkateDad.com back in 2015. The site specializes in roller skate reviews and advice about skates and all things roller skating. When Jeff isn't skating with his two daughters Lily and Violet, he enjoys writing code, cooking, watching movies and hanging out with his wife Claire and their german shepherd, Electra.

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