In the midst of life when someone you know dies there’s a moment to reflect back…

Invariably rose tinted spectacles can come on for me somehow, arguments or battles are less important in the context of life…and death.

So my brother sends me a link and I read of Mary and Roy, a couple who I was related to via my Ice Dance Career up to the mid eighties. This is Mary Parry and Roy Mason – they are on the right of the podium shot at the European Championships above.

I never knew of their competitive background. I was too busy getting on with my own stuff. What achievements they made and how vibrant was the British Ice Dance scene they, my parents and then myself was so involved in. How great that some chose to then stay involved in different ways in this world of ice they love.

I was brought up – from my earliest recollections – hearing the daily run down from my mother across the kitchen table of ‘who was doing deals with whom’ to get marks for their couples. This poisoned my view of the world from an early age and has been something for me to deal with. To seek the righteous, to be a stand for that, no matter who shouts and to trust that not everyone is on the take and to know that competition can be fair.

However, with this knowledge of deals to be done at the time, I just wanted to win. I can clearly remember Mary sat at a European Championship one early morning practise on one side of the rink on her own watching the ice dancers (of which Karen and I were one couple), go through our routines. Christopher Dean – God bless him – and Jayne went right through their programmes every practise, so we had to too. Flipping exhausting. Anyway all the other judges were sat together on the opposite side of the rink! I was furious. ‘Mary, get over there and do a deal for us,’ I thought. Ahhh, now I see that to be independent is a virtue. I like to think that Mary and Roy didn’t do deals. And would say ‘sorry Mary for my jumping to conclusions that morning.’

In Queens Ice Dance Club, London back in its former glory we (Karen and myself) had to do a ‘Screaming’ sorry that’s spelt ‘Screening’ for the judges. This was where you had to show your new programmes – before they were ready in our case as I was / am Last Minute .com – and then hear those judges tell you what was wrong and needed improvement. Queen’s ice rink being much thinner meant that patterns had to change from our home rink which was a hurdle and you always had to be nice and smile to the Judges otherwise they would give you rubbish marks. So went the mantra in my head – and Chris and Jayne didn’t have to turn up?

Anyway Karen and I had a Charlie Chaplin routine we were developing and Slater here had developed into a bit of a feisty, answer back chap trying to hold the Lid On The Box. We skated what was the bare bones of our Chaplin routine. Which was embarrassing and not great for us or those poor Judges trying to give put to help us be better. And so we went to the revue in the upstairs bar afterwards.

The Judges were frustrated. I was frustrated. At one point Roy, in his broad Birmingham accent, lost his cool. ‘Nicky you just look stupid out there’ I think he said – he might have said silly but his pot had boiled over. So mine did too. Rant rant I answered back – a lifetime of servitude to being nice to Judges percolating out. How brilliant. I think everyone was bit taken aback. You just don’t do this. Of course Roy you were absolutely right, “I did look stupid’ we were developing the character and it was work in progress and  I was also right to stand up for ‘The Little Tramp’ and protect him as he tried to make his way out there in the big bad world. Of course me with all my hangups and hatred at what I perceived at the fixed system I had to work in came out too. And maybe it helped make that Chaplin routine something that touched people’s hearts later on. There was/is something of the Little Tramp in yours truly. Chaplin is a hero of mine. I wish I’d had a conversation later with Roy in a pub somewhere when the routine was finished. He probably would have said “I looked less stupid” and we would have laughed together as we shared a Guiness.

So thank you Roy and Mary for all you did, for being rocks that somehow I did trust along my way in my skating career and for giving up your time to help others in some many ways. Well done on careers as competitors and then as volunteers giving to the sport you loved and sorry for the angst this competitor gave you and lack of respect at times. I learn as I go.. And you would have laughed it off and Mary I can you say “Don’t be silly..” with your fabulous aplomb as I write.

Lives well lived.

RIP – Love Nicky

Mary Parry died on 3rd March 2017 aged 87.

Roy Mason died on 10th March 2017 aged 83.

This picture was screen grabbed from NISA’s webpage all rights reserved by the original author. Full story here

1 Comment to “MARY AND ROY”

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