The high-speed skaters
Edwina Ellis (72) and Peter Braithwaite (73) are part of the Easy Saturday Skate group, which runs weekly inline skating sessions in Battersea Park
When did you start skating?
Peter ‘My wife and I were on holiday and she hurt her ankle and spent the rest of the holiday by the pool, so I found these skating classes. I came home and tried to do it and it was a disaster. Then I had skating lessons and the teacher said to come here to practise. That was about 12 years ago.’
Edwina ‘I’ve been skating for three and a bit years. I was walking and I saw the Sunday Stroll skate go past in Hyde Park. Getting to the point where I could skate in the street was a revelation. Now when I’m going somewhere, I think: Oh, I could skate there! My husband and I went to the Chelsea Physic Garden and I skated there and left my wheels by the gate. I skate every day that the ground is dry or I’ll feel cross.’
What do you like about skating?
Peter ‘Apart from being good exercise, it’s very sociable. And exhilarating. Running or swimming in lanes is boring. Skating uplifts you.’
Edwina ‘Everyone smiles. There’s so much happening with skating that’s totally new for me, like getting off on adrenaline! I went on a group skate to Barcelona and we did a Friday night skate. I couldn’t sleep after! I was totally overexcited.’
Any favourite skating memories?
Edwina ‘All my favourite moments involve speed. You lose yourself when you stop thinking: Where are the hazards? The first time that happened was towards the end of a street skate around Berkeley Square. I went faster than I’d ever been in my life. I was shocked to realise I was a newly developed adrenaline junky. The street skates are so fun.’
Peter ‘There’s a lot of blaring music. It’s like going to a rock concert on wheels.’
Edwina ‘On my eightieth birthday, if there’s a street skate, I’m going to beg them to play some Bach. I think they’ll find it quite boppy!’
What do your families think of you skating?
Peter ‘I think my son is quite proud that I’m still doing something at my age.’
Edwina ‘I’m the mad great aunt! I used to think it would be a disaster if I fell over, it would put me off. But all around me are the most amazing people who just get up!’
Peter ‘We used to have a skull-and-crossbones badge. You got it if you had to go to hospital!’
Edwina ‘And it’s funny having grazed knees in your seventies. When you’re an elderly skater, it’s quite handy knowing how to sew because you can darn your leggings!’
Life lessons: ‘Start skating before you’re 69! If you can do it, go for it and see what happens. I don’t think one starts out thinking: I’m too old to do that.’ Edwina Ellis
Find out more about Easy Saturday Skate.