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Ruth Proctor
Rob Greig

Quit your job, become a... rink marshal

By Time Out London contributor

Ruth Proctor, 34, ice rink marshal, Natural History Museum Swarovski Ice Rink

So, much like the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, you sometimes work on ice?

'Yes. I work at the Natural History Museum as a rink marshal. It's a seasonal space that opens at the end of October and closes in January. It looks beautiful with all the lighting, and the museum is such an amazing building, of course, so there's a great atmosphere.'

What are your main responsibilities?

'Marshals are on the ice when the public are having a skating session. We ensure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone's safe - we're there to help people up if they fall over. Mainly we just watch out for skaters doing things that aren't sensible, so we have to be constantly alert. There's some preparation between sessions to be done, too, like resurfacing the rink. And we do a lot of one-to-one teaching too. It's great being able to help people skate - it's my favourite part - but you do have to be a people person.'

Have you always been into skating?

'I used to skate competitively. I started when I was about seven and got more and more into it. For me it was quite a big thing. I trained every day and competed across the UK, but it got to a certain point where I wondered whether I should keep going. Eventually, I decided to study art at university. But yeah - I took skating very seriously until I was about 21. I've worked at the NHM rink every year for six years, now. It's a great feeling being on the ice again.'

What are people like on the ice? You must have seen a few mishaps.

'There are people of all levels, but the standard is pretty good! Sometimes you see people who look like they're about to fall, but they manage to stay on their feet by accidentally pulling the kind of amazing move that even a pro would struggle with!'

What do you do for the rest of the year?

'In my life outside of this job I'm an artist. At the moment I'm in an exhibition at the Turner Contemporary. Skating has definitely had an influence on my work - last year I made a piece that included a synthetic ice rink as the floor of a gallery in Finsbury Park!'

Interview by Sammy Robson.

Or why not become an entomologist?

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