BASINGSTOKE Ice Skating Club members were given masterclasses by top coaches and husband and wife team Simon and Debi Briggs.

The pair flew down from Dundee to pass on their knowledge and experience to the Basingstoke coaches and skaters.

To make the morning session even more special, they were joined by British men’s and ladies champions Jenna McCorkell and Matthew Parr.

As well as passing on tips to the skaters, they conducted a training session at the Basingstoke Arena, ahead of flying out to the European Championships.

Simon Briggs is the coaching director of Britain’s skating governing body, the National Ice Skating Association.

He was also the Technical Specialist for pairs skating at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

The masterclasses proved to be very popular and during one of the breaks, Simon took time out to talk to the Gazette.

“I have absolutely enjoyed every minute,” he said. “It has been very refreshing to see so many people eager to learn.”

This month is a big one for ice skating as the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are followed by the World Championships.

Simon said: “I was at Sochi last year for a Grand Prix event and the facility is excellent.”

A new ice skating team event will take place at the Olympics this year, opening the competition.

Great Britain is one of the top 10 nations in the sport and will be involved, with both McCorkell and Parr taking part.

Simon added: “I think it will surprise a few that we are in the top 10 and I think the team event is an excellent idea.

“Matthew (Parr) will now get a chance to skate at the Olympics, when he would not have otherwise had the opportunity.

“We go to the Olympics not expecting to medal, but the sport is getting stronger all the time and television programmes like Dancing on Ice bring in a lot of new skaters.

“This is a sport where adults and children can learn together, making it an excellent way for families to keep fit.”

Chairman of Basingstoke Ice Skating Club, Simon Hawthorne, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for all of the skaters to be coached by Simon and Debi Briggs, the UK’s top coaches.

“To also train with the current British Men’s and Ladies’ champions before they flew out to compete in the European Championships and Winter Olympics was a bonus.

“All of the skaters worked hard but also enjoyed the experience. They were a credit to the club and Basingstoke.”

The club operates every Sunday morning from 8.30am until 10.45am.

Pop along if you would like to improve your skating during a free trial week.

Find out more about the events coming up for the club online at