It is with great sadness that we report the deaths of Mary Parry and Roy Mason, partners on the ice and partners in life.
Mary and Roy were both from Birmingham and latterly have lived for many years in Sutton Coldfield. Mary was born on 16th October 1929 and Roy a few years later, on 13th December 1933.
Not surprisingly, it was their love of ice skating brought them together.
Mary was the first to take to the ice and started to skate seriously when she passed her first test in 1947. Roy followed suit in 1952.
They joined the, very popular, Birmingham Ice Dance Club and were already dance partners by the mid 1950’s. Club records tell us that by 1955 they were winning club competitions both together and with others as drawn partners. This was followed by success in open competitions. Their popularity and dedication were such that on 23rd November 1957, over 100 Birmingham ice dance supporters boarded coaches and made the journey to Nottingham to cheer Mary and Roy on to 6th place in their first British Ice Dance Championship. Their confidence was boosted when the father of British Ice Dancing, Reg Wilkie, declared their free dance, of foxtrot, blues and quickstep rhythms to be “a very good programme”.
The following year they finished a very creditable 4th, behind the three more experienced British Couples, who had swept the board at the 1957 and 1958 European Championships.
They were to enjoy better fortune, though and 1959 was to be a good competitive year for Mary and Roy. They were in the limelight and with a much wider audience when their winning performance, in the Northern and Midland Regional Championships, was selected for a television broadcast. Mary and Roy were now a force in ice dance and followed up achievement with a 2nd place in the British Championships behind World and European Champions Doreen Denny and Courtney Jones.
If 1959 was good, 1960 was momentous for the couple. Their dedication and hours of practice was rewarded at the European Championships, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Mary and Roy proudly stood on the podium, wearing sashes of honour and with a huge bouquet of flowers to receive the Bronze Medals.
In a few short years, they had moved from winning club competitions in Birmingham to European Championship medalists. A huge achievement and one that would give them the experience, background and knowledge on which to base their illustrious futures.
During their competitive skating careers, Mary and Roy had the distinction of finishing on the podium in four British Ice Dance Championships, represented Great Britain in four European Championships, finishing 4th twice and 5th as well as their 3rd place and twice competed in the World Championships finishing 6th in 1963.
After retiring from competitive skating Mary quickly went into judging. Roy had already begun judging and by 1966 was on the first class judging panel. Both spent the 1970’s giving much of their free time to Club Competitions, open Competitions and early morning tests.
In 1978 Roy was elected onto the NSA Ice Dance Committee and quickly made his presence felt with innovative ideas, not always accepted. However his expertise was recognized and he progressed to the Chairmanship of the Ice Dance Committee, a position he held for many years. Roy will be remembered for spearheading the drive to bring the 1993 British Championships to the Sheffield Arena as a stage for the return of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.
The 1980’s and 1990’s also saw Mary join Roy on the Dance Committee. They were both very involved in the organization of the 1995 World Championships, held in their home city of Birmingham.
At the same time, both were now international judges and traveled widely to international competitions where they became well regarded for their knowledge of Ice Dance and its’ rules. They were elevated from international judges to Championship judges and were now judging European and World Championships as well as other internationals. However, the pinnacle of their careers as judges, was surely when they both had the honour of judging at The Winter Olympic Games, Roy in 1988 and Mary in 1994.
Although Roy retired from the skating scene in the late 1990’s Mary continued and having embraced IJS continued judging until recently an enormous achievement for a lady in her 80’s.
Mary was a very confident and driven lady, she was naturally very funny. She has been described by skaters, coaches, judges and friends as being honest, fair and very supportive to our skaters offering help and advice over the years and also good friend to many in the skating world.
Mary brought fun and laughter to every competition she attended.
Although skating was her love, Mary was also an avid gardener and also found time in her busy schedule to again help others, by volunteering, a few days a week at her local hospital.
Both Mary and Roy will be missed and are a great loss to skating, the sport they both loved and devoted their lives to.
Mary Parry died on 3rd March 2017 aged 87.
Roy Mason died on 10th March 2017 aged 83.
The funeral arrangements are ;
1pm on 27th March at Woodlands Crematorium
Elaine Hooper NISA Historian