Success for investor as ice skating starts

A COVERED ice rink opened in Steyne Gardens on Friday thanks to a £100,000 investment from businessman Phil Duckett.

Worthing mayor Bob Smytherman, mayoress Norah Fisher and professional skater Jack Ford marked the occasion by being the first on the ice.

Mr Duckett, who is also in the process of developing the Southern Pavilion on Worthing Pier, said: “It is good for the town that the ice rink is back, particularly because it is under cover for the first time.

“It was important for me to have the cover on because British weather is so unpredictable and I just felt that people would not have to worry about staying warm and dry in here.

“I also wanted to make it a bit different from when it was run by the Town Centre Initiative and the council and I think this will be great both for people who live here and for those who may be thinking about coming into the town.

“Worthing is on the up and to have the ice rink here again I think is fitting.

“It is nice for me because I like to be involved in fun things and there has been a great response to this so far.”

Mr Duckett has invested £100,000 into the venture, which includes buying the ice rink.

He said: “In the past the ice rink has been hired but the project has always made a loss so I thought that if I bought the ice rink, then the first year would be difficult but the long-term gain would be better.

“I want this to happen every year.”

Up to 50 people can take part in a 30-minute skating session and spectators can enjoy hot drinks and food from the on-site café, which is heated.

Worthing mayor Bob Smytherman said: “This is a really great and very exciting for the town.

“Having it under cover for the first time is a good addition. Phil has done an amazing job putting this all together – it looks fantastic.

“I think it is a real asset to the town and I hope that it is really successful because it is an amazing facility for everyone to enjoy.”

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke said: “This is fantastic. We ran the ice rink for four years and it always struggled financially so it is great that Phil has come in and resurrected it for Worthing. We really hope that it will be a viable business.”