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Veteran roller skater

244. Ron Gibbs

An 83 year old roller skating volunteer from Crawley who has spent over 40 years coaching skaters to international standards.

Ron Gibbs’s lifelong passion for roller skating began in 1947 when he joined his local roller hockey club and started a roller speed club in Southsea, Portsmouth. Soon after joining the National Skating Association of Great Britain, he became interested in Roller Dancing and, in 1956, joined the Imperial Club in Brixton where, alongside his partner, he participated in the 1961, 1964 and 1965 World Championships .

After 20 years as a roller dancer, Ron decided to he wanted to give something back and began coaching and judging for the sport, travelling to clubs across the country and dedicating most of his free time to coaching skaters to international standards and judging adults and young people in competitions.

Ron introduced the ‘Maydaye Fund’ to support as many people as possible to access the sport, providing funds for travel fees when skaters represent Great Britain in European and World championship level competitions. Ron has also been the President of the Federation of Artistic Roller Skating and the President of the European governing body of Artistic Roller Skating.

As well as his achievements as a judge and a coach, Ron has contributed in other ways to the sport, inventing the ‘Tudor Waltz’ and ‘Imperial Tango’, both now used in competitions across the world. It was also Ron who introduced the ‘knock-out’ format of competitions for roller dancing, bringing the sport in line with the style of ballroom dance competitions.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“After nearly 50 years volunteering with artistic roller skating, Ron has become a leader in the sport. He is supporting thousands of people up and down the country to get involved and I’m pleased to make him a Point of Light.”

Ron said:

“I am overwhelmed with this award. It is truly wonderful that our sport of roller dance skating has been acknowledged by the Prime Minister.” Henry Smith, MP said: “My congratulations to Ronald on winning a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister. “I am delighted that Ron’s work, including his service as President of the Federation of Artistic Roller Skating, and setting up the Maydaye Fund to support competitors via travel funding to represent Great Britain abroad, is being recognised. Ron has additionally served as President of the European governing body of Artistic Roller Skating, following 20 years as a roller dancer. I am grateful for the effect that his work has in Crawley and further afield.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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