THERE are 1,800 potential ice skaters on the Isle of Wight who would benefit from a rink, a new survey has shown.

Wight Ice Leisure, the charitable company set up by Ryde Arena campaigners, said the results showed a continuing demand for ice skating despite the closure of the rink more than two years ago.

Their survey prompted more then 1,300 Isle of Wight residents to show their ongoing support for ice skating and associated arena facilities in Ryde.

The responses came from Ryde residents (40 per cent) and other Island communities (60 per cent).

In addition to ice skating, respondents showed a strong interest in other arena activities and facilities such as concerts, watching ice hockey and figure skating, a café, sports bar, gym and a sports shop.

Taking part in ice hockey, ice dance and skating lessons also scored highly, and trying out new ice-based activities such as curling and football on ice were also popular.

Malcolm Marshall, chair of Wight Ice Leisure, said: "It's just amazing how strong the support for ice skating and an arena still is on the Island.

"Over two years after AEW locked up the arena without notice or proper consideration of how important that place was to the young people of Ryde and surrounding areas, we still have this level of support.

"We hope to see the return of good ice skating facilities to the Island before too long and are looking at ways that could be achieved. Other communities in England are including ice skating facilities as part of their regeneration activities and we believe that's the way forward here on the Island as well.

"Wight Ice Leisure is particularly proud of the skaters who continue to train on the mainland, including the synchronised skating teams and the ice hockey players now playing for mainland teams. I'd like to thank the hundreds of people who have campaigned, raised money and keep hopes alive for an Island arena."

A full survey report will be available on the Ryde Arena Community Action Group Facebook page.