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SAD NEWS - KAREN WOOD

Karen Wood was one of the exceptional skaters who emerged from the North East in the 1970's, skating at Whitley Bay, Billingham and Durham.

She passed her first test in 1971 and as a young girl competed in many local competitions with some success.

Karen also skated pairs with Stephen Baker, coached by Alan Merchant, at Durham and in 1975-6 season were placed 6 in the Junior World Pairs Championship.

Karen's real achievements came as a singles skater.

Karen was stronger in her free programme than in her figures but shone at both and she moved up the ranks steadily, winning the British Primary Ladies Championship in 1977, followed by the British Junior Ladies Championship in 1979, where she became the first lady to complete a triple jump in the Junior Championships.

She was eager to be the British Champion and to that end by the 1980's Karen had moved to North Wales to train at Deeside with Keith Kelley.

In the same year she took 4th place in the British Championships

Such was her progress that Karen was now competing in internationals and was 6th in both the Coupe des Alpes in St. Gervais and the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf. 1980 was a very good year for Karen and it became clear that she would not have to wait long before she was British Champion.

That win came in the 1980-81 season but very importantly this was the season that Karen became the first British lady to win the coveted Richmond Trophy for 25years. This was followed by 11th place in Europeans and 15th in Worlds.  Her trip to Lyons for the Europeans became an unforgettable experience for her when she was stuck for some time in a lift where none of the other passengers spoke English.

Was also a team player and her 4th place in the ladies at the Ennia Challenge Cup contributed, together with, Chris Howarth, Wendy Sessions, Stephen Williams, Susan Garland, Robert Daw, Dawn Packer, Ian Jenkins and Andrew Bestwick to give Team GB 2nd place overall.

By this time not only did Karen compete internationally and at our Championships but she was encouraging the younger skaters by regularly judging at Deeside club competitions.

In 1981-82 Karen was 2nd in the British, 8th in Europeans, 17th in Worlds and 7th in Skate Canada but she was not deterred and came back the following season to win the British for a 2nd time.

Karen skated in the following 2 British Championships finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively but had decided to turn professional and in December 1984 competed in the Jaca World Professional championships.  Karen certainly stood out, skating to 3rd place, in a brightly coloured striped catsuit and a bowler hat, to the theme from "The Sting"

Karen joined the Hot Ice show and also appeared in the ice show at the giant German theme establishment, Europa Park, following that experience Karen turned to teaching and joined the coaching staff at Blackpool but ill health ended her skating career.

Karen settled in nearby Chorley and became a carer to her brother, Michael, who suffers from MS.

Karen achieved and contributed so much so much in skating both as an amateur and professional, both entertaining and teaching.

Karen had not been in good health for awhile and will be remembered fondly and missed by so many who skated with her and the many who kept in regular contact with her.

Karen, who died in December 2014, is survived by her daughters Corrinne and Nicole.