Teen skate star’s gruelling schedule

Rossall School Lydia Bannister-Nunn is excelling at ice skating.
Rossall School Lydia Bannister-Nunn is excelling at ice skating.

Combining academic studies with the demands of her sport is a delicate balancing act which young Lydia Bannister-Nunn is carrying off with aplomb.

Lydia, 13, is a pupil at Fleetwood’s Rossall School, where she is excelling with her classwork.

But outside school hours, the teenager is determinedly committed to ice skating.

The youngster has dreams, and a realistic chance, of becoming Britain’s top figure skater.

She first caught the ice-skating bug at the age of four and is now so involved with the sport she rises at 4.30am most days of the week to travel to Blackburn Ice Rink.

There she undergoes an hour and a half of rigorous training, before returning to Fleetwood for a full day of lessons at Rossall.

This has been her routine for the past two years, with the help of her mother and grandparents, and is something she’ll need to keep up if she is to develop the skills necessary to take on the Russians, Americans and the newly emerging Chinese skaters who dominate the world of figure skating.

Runner-up in the Blackburn Open Wardle Spring Cup last weekend, Lydia is currently preparing for competition, including the Murrayfield Opens, taking place in May in Edinburgh.

She is working hard on her short and free programmes and hopes to be ready to
compete in the Advanced Novice section of the British Championships in November 2014.

But one thing the young is likely to need is commercial sponsorship to help cover the considerable costs of the sport; hire time on the ice rink, coaching fees, boots and costumes, competition fees, travel expenses, accommodation and other outgoings.

Rossall’s Head of Dragon House, Mike Kelly, believes Lydia has the drive and talent to become a champion.

He said: “Lydia is a very bright girl and extremely focused and despite her gruelling training schedule and early starts she continues to do well academically.

“If she continues to show this level of dedication to sport and school she has all the traits of a champion, so I hope a local or regional company can see her potential and get behind her.”

Lydia has already acquired the National Ice Skating Association (NISA), level 10 grade ‘field moves’: two above the requirement for competing in NISA championships.

She is also training to take level 7 and 8 elements and ‘Free Programmes’ to improve her chances of qualification and to gain a ranking, which she requires to open up international competitions at Advanced Novice level.

Grandfather, Clive Nunn said: “Lydia wants to become British Figure Skating Champion and with sponsorship has the potential to go all the way.”