Huge crowds inundated the Staveley Ice Rink yesterday, putting smiles on the faces of volunteers who went all out to get the facility open.
Co-manager Rob Withers said he estimated up to 400 skaters visited; as cars filled the carpark visitors had to walk in from the nearby road.
“We had to revolve around skate hire a bit, because there were so many people hiring skates,” Mr Withers said.
He put the day’s success down to a lot of publicity, with the skating rink’s perfect conditions getting lots of attention on social media, as well as hitting newspaper headlines and attracting television news cameras on Saturday.
Farmer volunteers dug the rink’s facilities out of deep snow last week, fitting the job in with feeding out.
Despite the crowds, which he believed came from throughout Canterbury, everyone went away with a smile on their face as the rinks closed around 5pm.
“There was a lot of happy families went away today, we were really, really pleased,” Mr Withers said.
He was not sure if the large numbers had created a new record, but it was the most he could remember ever seeing at the rink, and he has been skating there since he was a child.
It would certainly have been one of the biggest days in the history of the facility, which was built by locals in 1949.
The rink opened for the season on Saturday, attracting about 120 during the day, and then another 120 for the evening.
Nor’westers forecast for the coming week would not be good for the ice, however it was over eight inches thick and the plan was still to open according to schedule on Wednesday, Mr Withers said.
– Susan Sandys