Emily Rose Brown - Penwortham’s ice skating champ

Emily Rose Brown in action

Emily Rose Brown in action - Credit: Archant

Despite only stepping onto the ice four years ago, 13-year-old Emily Rose Brown from Penwortham is aiming for Olympic glory

Emily is already winning titles

Emily is already winning titles - Credit: Archant

When a leaflet advertising a Skate UK baby course was posted through the letter box of Emily Rose Brown’s home in Penwortham, her family could never have imagined what an impact it would have on their lives.

Not only do Raymond and Esther Brown spend their time driving their daughter to competitons all over Britain, they once seriously contemplated moving from Penwortham to Austria.

‘The beginner’s course was meant to be for a year,’ said Esther, who teaches drama at Hutton Grammar School. ‘But Emily (who was only nine at the time) aced the Blackpool course in three months.’

She was clearly destined for greater things and her first skating coach, Penny Booth, spotted this straight away. ‘I remember Penny saying she’s going to be good. That’s when I realised just how much Emily’s ice skating was about to encompass what was our normal life!’

Emily with her British solo ice dance champion 2014 trophy

Emily with her British solo ice dance champion 2014 trophy - Credit: Archant

Only a few months after experiencing her first time on the ice, Emily began competing and she became known for her unusual dance routines. Esther said that judges were blown away when aged ten she put together a routine based around the epic science-fiction film, Avatar, and skated around on the ice dressed as a Na’vi, one of the characters in the movie.

The 13-year-old now trains a gruelling six mornings a week at Blackburn Ice Arena before travelling to school where she is a student at All Hallows Catholic High. Emily often travels to Sheffield where she also trains with new coach, Mark Hanretty. ‘It’s a 5am alarm each morning,’ laughed Esther. ‘By 6am she is on the ice. Sometimes she will even go back to the rink after school.’

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This dedication to her sport has led Emily to achieve numerous prestigious titles, including most recently scooping British solo ice dance champion 2014 in the advanced novice category. Hosted by the National Ice Skating Association (NISA) at Ice Sheffield, although Emily was one of the youngest contenders she surpassed hundreds of entries to make it to top 20 for the finals. Her well-rehearsed routines saw her wipe the board with exceptionally high scores and claim top prize.

‘It felt amazing to win,’ said Emily. ‘I really enjoy skating and I like the dance routines and jumping the best.’ Emily, who is a self-confessed technical geek and bit of a perfectionist, loves all of the costumes and getting into character for her various performances. For the NISA championships, she skated various routines and pattern dances including a cha cha, blues and waltz.

Coach Mark Henretty with Emily and partner Dillon Erhardt

Coach Mark Henretty with Emily and partner Dillon Erhardt - Credit: Archant

‘I have also qualified in the solo category for the British Figure Skating Championships and qualified as a pair skater with my new partner Dillon Erhardt,’ said Emily.

‘She’s very brave with some of the routines she does,’ said Esther. ‘Emily absolutely loves jumping so she’s pretty fearless. She was once head-hunted by an Austrian coach, so she trained internationally there and he really helped her out with her double and triple axel jumps.’

However, when an offer came for Emily to dance with the coach’s son and represent Austria in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the family had some serious thinking to do. ‘Taking up the offer would have meant us relocating to Austria and Emily representing another country,’ continued Esther. ‘It was just too big of a move because of her age and Emily really wants to represent and compete for Great Britain, so we turned it down.’

For Emily, becoming an Olympic athlete is her ultimate aim. She is already on the Great Britain squad for 2014/15 in two categories, solo dance and jumping, and could also make it into the pairs skating with Dillon.

The aspiring Olympian is now looking for a sponsor as the cost for coaching and competing in various competitions is an enormous strain financially on the family.

‘She’s really good in all categories on the ice, which is excellent for her but bad for us!’ laughed Esther. ‘The cost is colossal, so to find a sponsor to help her follow her dream would be amazing.’

Emily’s coach, two-time British bronze medallist and European Figure Skating Championships competitor, Mark Hanretty, believes Emily has got what it takes to go all the way.

The Dancing on Ice star said: ‘Emily truly is the model pupil. Not only does she have a fantastic natural ability, but her work ethic and drive lead me to believe she has a very strong chance to become a British Olympian.

‘Above all, she is a sincerely gentle, caring and appreciative young lady which makes her a true pleasure to work with. I hope the Lancashire Life article is spotted by someone keen to back British sporting talent.’