This year marks 25 years since ice skating queen Jayne Torvill made East Sussex her home. Your County chats to Jayne about her favourite spots in the county and her experience of adopting through East Sussex County Council.
After drawing a circle around London, Jayne and her husband Philip fell in love with a house in the north of the county, and have remained here since with their two children.
“I like that where I live is not too remote and there are a couple of country towns nearby. I really like the cute coffee shop called Pink Cabbage in Mayfield, which has a really lovely atmosphere. I like to visit Tunbridge Wells for serious shopping and we’ve recently got a small Waitrose in Heathfield, which is very exciting.
And when I’m not training I go to Govers Gym at least three times a week. “When the children were little, we went to many play centres in the county and now they’re a little older, they like going to Bedgebury National Pinetum and Go Ape. My son plays football in in the county, so I can often be spotted hanging around football pitches.”
Jayne is currently patron of the East Sussex Foster Care Association, which is an independent charity run by foster carers, for East Sussex foster carers and their families. For the charity she has helped present prizes, attend annual balls and taken foster children ice skating.
She said: “It’s been nice to meet such a lovely bunch of kids and I try and help as much as I can. My two children were both in foster care as newborns before we adopted them. It was an important start for their lives and we were lucky they were so well looked after.
“I think it can be tricky for older children in care as they still need support, but are not able to live with their parents, and I think they can be harder to place than babies.”
Jayne adopted her two children through East Sussex County Council. She says: “It was a fantastic experience, but you have got to really want it. There are lots of hoops to jump through, but it’s necessary that social services find the right people to look after the children and that they find the right children to match them to. I think they do get a lot of bad press when it goes wrong, but there are many cases where it goes right that we do not hear about.”
Most people will know Jayne for her ice skating. Whether you’re old enough to remember her and Christopher Dean winning a gold medal for Bolero at the 1984 Winter Olympics, or more recently where she and Christopher hosted TV show, Dancing on Ice.
“Dancing on Ice was 10 years of our lives and I absolutely enjoyed the show. It was so rewarding to see what can be achieved in just a short amount of time. We’ve had over 30 years of ice skating training and the people who came on Dancing on Ice had just three months training before they started,” Jayne says.
The final episode of Dancing on Ice aired in 2014 and that year also marked 30 years since Jayne and Christopher won the Olympics.
To mark the occasion they were invited back to Sarajevo by the two Mayors to perform in the arena, where they had won the award.
“Winning the Olympics was a fantastic moment and it was the icing on the cake to be invited back to skate in the arena, which had been rebuilt after it was bombed in the war.
“To go back and perform was quite an achievement and it was very emotional to do that again.” YC