Ice dancing stars get their skates on for wizard show in Newcastle

They’ve already created some ice magic for Harry Potter and Harrods, the world’s most famous store.

Now the company which also provided a skating rink for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is coming to Newcastle to create a winter wonderland – whatever the temperature.

They will be setting up the environmentally friendly, synthetic rink at the Silverlink Shopping Park, on the A1058 Coast Road.

It will be open from Saturday, February 9, to Sunday, February 24, and to celebrate some of the city’s brightest young skating stars will be putting on a spectacular show at the rink on the opening day from 2pm to 4pm.

The youngsters, aged seven and eight, are all from the Whitley Bay Ice Rink and are pupils of coach Karen Brannen, a local girl herself, who started skating aged just two and went on to be a member of the British Junior squad.

And Karen will be on hand at rinkside with helpful hints and tips on how to get the most out of the skating experience.

She said: “I started when I was only two because my older sister, Heather McDermott, was going to go to give her a bit of confidence as she was very shy.

“It worked for her too. She ended up playing ice hockey for Great Britain while I competed until I was 18 and was second in the Under-13 British Championships before I took up coaching and I love it, it’s so rewarding.”

Karen is on the ice every day at 5.30am with her young charges and is back at Whitley Bay Ice Rink in the evenings after work for more coaching – she still manages to look after husband Craig and sons Kieran and Lewis.

She said: “Ice skating is a sport for all ages. I coach little ones just two years old all the way up to people in their 60s who have just taken it up and they’re brilliant.

“At the ice rink we have skaters in their 80s and I can be ideal for older people because it is low impact and much easier than running. You’re never too late to start skating.”

Whitley Bay Ice Rink provides a variety of courses for all age groups and Karen, 32, has a few words of advice for anyone who fancies having a go at the Silverlink: “Just bend your knees and start walking with nice little marching steps and once you get your balance the gliding will come,” she said.

Amy Hodges, Marketing Manager for Silverlink Shopping Park, said: “It should be a lot of fun for shoppers on the day and I’m sure the young skaters will be inspirational.

“It will also be great to have Karen on hand to give some expert guidance so that even beginners will be able to have a go.

“Silverlink is such a popular shopping destination that I’m sure lots of people will be there and the ice rink should add to the buzz and atmosphere

The Reading based manufacturers, Ice Magic, installed a skating rink on the roof of the Harrods in London’s Knightsbride for their popular Christmas TV advert and have also supplied several of the Harry Potter films.

Worldwide Sales Director, Trevor Collins, says Ice Magic even provided one for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

He said: “This is as close as you can get to real ice but without the need for gas guzzling generators to keep everything frozen.

“Our skating rinks are also more user friendly as you don’t get a film of lying water on top which leaves anyone who falls down soaked to the skin.

“And as we supply the product to many professional skaters it shows it is as near as you can get to real ice.

According to Trevor, Ice Magic skating rinks have been used instead of real ice on numerous TV and film sets as well as the filming of commercials.

He said: “We were very pleased to be able to supply a skating rink to Harrods and it was used to film their Christmas TV and web campaign and our rinks also were used in several Harry Potter films.

“We have just launched in China and the rinks are already incredibly popular and are proving as big a hit as they already are in Japan. We are launching in the Lebanon and Dubai shortly too.

“The skating rinks are also proving very popular in really hot countries in regions such as the Caribbean as they can be used whatever the temperature.

“At the Silverlink, we will also have plastic penguins which toddlers can hold onto and be pushed around the rink. It’s a family friendly experience that will make shopping days that bit more fun.”

For more information on skating go to and for more on the Silverlink go to

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