Legend of Richmond Ice Rink dies aged 96

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Legendary ice dancer and coach Roy Callaway, 96, has died.

Mr Callaway coached many years at the Richmond Ice Rink until it closed in 1992. He continued coaching occasionally into his 80s.

He was married to the late Betty Callaway MBE, who coached Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Roy was born in Derby in 1917. He later moved north to join the Blackpool Ice Show and met ice-dancer Betty Roberts.

According to Jiri Musil, Mr Callaway’s long-time friend, Betty “ran away from a convent to join the show in Blackpool”, and her parents were “not overjoyed” with her relationship as Roy was eight years older and did not have steady work.

They married in 1949 and moved to Richmond where both took up coaching at the Richmond Ice Rink. They settled in Roseleigh Close in East Twickenham where Roy lived until the late 1990s. Roy and Betty divorced in 1976, and remarried in 2000.

Mr Musil said: “They remarried after Betty’s [second] husband died. Betty was on her own and Roy was on his own.

“They always remained very close, even after they divorced. It was more or less a natural decision to get back together as they were getting old.”

The couple lived in Beaconsfield after their second marriage until Betty died in 2011.

Mr Callaway then moved in with Jiri Musil and his wife, Anna, who cared for him in their home in Chertsey until his death on Tuesday, April 8. Mr Musil described Mr Callaway as “always happy, always smiling”.

He enjoyed photography, golf and gardening.

Mr Musil said: “At Roseleigh Close, the estate was rather bare, so Roy planted cherry trees, and those trees still flower every spring and remind people of him.”

In lieu of flowers, Roy preferred donations to the Betty Callaway Fund, benefitting ice dancing in Britain. The funeral for Roy Callaway was due to be held Friday, April 25, at 2.40pm at Hanworth Crematorium, Hounslow.

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