Rolling back the years: Memories of Funkys indoor skating rink
- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers
As roller skating made a comeback during lockdown, Norwich’s indoor rink reflected on its 29 years in business and why this sport has brought so many together over the years.
It may be seen as a retro hobby but this year roller skating has rolled back into fashion, as hundreds of people across Norfolk enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of being on eight wheels in lockdown.
But Gary Osborne, co-owner and manager of Funkys roller rink, at Burton Road Business Park, in Norwich, said it may be trending now but for him roller skating has been his life for nearly 30 years.
Mr Osborne started working at the rink, originally called Super Skate, in 1992, which changed to Solar Skate in 1994-5, Funky Monkeys in 2000 and finally Funkys in 2004 – when he took the business over.
“I started two weeks before we opened in 1992 and in September this year I will have been here for 29 years,” he said.
“When we started, we were purely roller skating so that hasn’t changed a great deal, the major change is the play area which introduced a younger audience.
“Over the years, thousands of different people from different backgrounds have come here - having been roller skating for nearly 40 years myself.
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“You might have someone who is a solicitor or a builder but it doesn’t matter when you’re skating. When you come together and you skate, it doesn’t matter what you do in the day, it puts everyone on a level playing field.”
Since the pandemic hit last year, Funkys – like many indoor rinks– was unable to open for most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.
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Mr Osborne added: “I would like to say a massive thank you to the people who have supported us over the past 14 months and our landlord has been brilliant.
“Without his support, we may not have survived.”
“The last 29-years have been up and down, a lot of hard work but on the whole, it has been a lot of fun. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”