A Somercotes youngster is dreaming of Olympic ice skating glory after being invited to begin training with a national development programme.
Seven-year-old Lilly Beth Radford-Coleman was spotted by scouts from the British Ice Skating Association at a competition in August.
A few weeks later, mum Fiona received an unexpected email, inviting the Kirkstead Junior School pupil to join the Young Stars Development Programme 2019/20.
Fiona said: “It felt absolutely amazing to read it. Lilly Beth was punching the air. She works tirelessly, and just loves being on the ice.
“She first skated when she was two, and we haven’t been able to keep her away since. She likes to say, ‘Ice is my life’. The first thing she asked when we got the news was, ‘How often do I get to go now?’”
Lilly Beth currently trains four days a week at Lammas Leisure Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield with coach Jen Stone.
That means juggling schedules at home and work for Fiona, her husband Tony, and Lilly Beth’s grandparents Tony and Denise Radford.
Fiona said: “There’s a lot of work and its a real team effort, but we’re with her all the way.”
The Young Stars scheme is based in Sheffield, and means Lilly Beth will have her progress closely monitored and receive extra coaching and training camps.
Fiona said: “Lilly Beth only did her first competition in 2018, but she went to a camp with Mark Hanretty from Dancing on Ice recently and it opened her eyes to what was possible, and what she will need to do reach the next level.
“Being part of Young Stars will open her up to more of the skating world, help her visualise the future and make progress.”
She added: “We always talk about how the podium is not the main thing. It’s about taking part, and trying to beat your own best.
“But the other day she did put a penny in a wishing well and said she hoped to be in the Olympics one day.”
For now, Fiona and Tony are seeking local businesses who could sponsor Lilly’s training costs. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.