Big thank you from

Kids get skates on as rink opens

Pupils from St. Joseph's Primary School, Lisburn visit the Christmas Skating Rink in Castle Gardens. Visiting the rink at the same time is The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Allan Ewart who is being given a lift around the rink by Santa. Helping Santa is Councillor Jenny Palmer and Alderman Jim Dillon, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council's Economic Development Committee respectively.

CHILDREN from St. Joseph's Primary School in Lisburn got their skates on last Friday as Lisburn City Centre's first ever Skating Rink opened to the public.

Brought to the city as part of Lisburn's 400th Anniversary celebrations, the rink will be open at Castle Gardens until Sunday January 3.

Santa Claus himself will also be in residence in his Grotto in the Gardens, right up to Christmas Eve. Opening the rink the Mayor, Councillor Allan Ewart, said: "Our Christmas Skating Rink in Lisburn is just minutes away from some of the best shopping in Northern Ireland." Children under 8 have to be accompanied by an adult on the rink and all children need to be accompanied by an adult when visiting Santa's Grotto.

"With the holidays fast approaching why not get your skates on with the family and experience the magic of Christmas at the Skating Rink," said Mr Ewart.

On thin ice - synthetic ice that is

A local woman's temper skated over the edge when she paid a visit to Lisburn's Christmas skating rink after it opened last weekend when, she said, instead of a 'Victorian Winter Wonderland Ice Rink' she found a "synthetic tiled skating rink."

The Lisburn woman had paid £14 for herself, her husband and their four-year-old daughter to visit the outdoor skating rink in Castle Gardens, which opened on Friday December 11. However, she said she was disappointed to find the synthetic skating rink, which was, "almost impossible to skate on as some of the tiles were very slippery and some were not at all. In addition, the skating surface was uneven, sloping towards the Lagan."

The local woman added: "Of the dozen or so people on the rink while we were there, none were able to skate as you would on a proper ice rink. As a result we requested our money back and this is being arranged by a member of council staff."

Whilst council officials told the lady the rink had been referred to as a 'Christmas Skating Rink' and not a 'Victorian Winter Wonderland Ice Rink', the lady pointed out that this description had in fact been on the council's website promoting the event. Responding to the complaint, a council spokesperson commented: "All promotional material including advertisements, banners, posters, leaflets and all information that was sent to the press referred to the Skating Rink in Castle Gardens as a 'Christmas Skating Rink' and not an Ice Rink.

"While the home page and 400th Anniversary page of the Council website also refer to a 'Christmas Skating Rink' steps have been taken to remove a reference to the facility as an Ice Rink from the community events page.

"Since opening last Friday the Skating Rink has attracted over 900 visitors. While it is regrettable that any member of the public should express dissatisfaction with their visit the vast majority of customers have enjoyed their skating experience in Castle Gardens.

"The Council would like to apologise for any misunderstanding and will continue to monitor the situation."

Ulster Star