Scotland’s most successful ice dancer fears for the future of the sport in this country.

Lewis Gibson was born and raised in Prestwick and began skating just a few miles from his home at Ayr Ice Rink so is “devastated” at its impending closure.

The 29-year-old is a world No.1, European silver medallist, Olympic and World Championships finalist, a four-time Grand Prix medallist and a five-time British champion, as well as a fan favourite across the globe and he is certain that without Ayr Ice Rink, he would not have achieved even a fraction of this, which is why, despite now residing in Montreal, he is so upset by the potential closure of the facility due, the rink’s owners, Ayrshire Curlers Ltd, say, to spiralling energy costs.

“I’m devastated, which in some ways is crazy because now, the closure doesn’t have any direct impact on me,” Gibson says. 

“I think back to growing up and having the opportunity to try diverse sports like skating and so to think that’s dwindling away is really scary. I undoubtedly would never be where I am if I hadn’t had Ayr Ice Rink.”

The closure of the rink, which will happen in October, is just the latest in a lengthy list of sporting facilities around Scotland that have either closed already or are due to close in the coming months and years.

A petition to save the rink, which is also the home rink of Olympic curling medallist Scott Andrews, attracted almost 10,000 signatures in its first few days but Gibson is terrified about the impact this closure, if it goes ahead, will have on young skaters in Scotland.

“For everyone, but especially the young kids who use the rink, to have it ripped away is devastating,” he says. “It’s not like there’s a bunch of other rinks they can go to instead so there’ll be a lot of people who won’t have a sport anymore.

“The grassroots in the sport are doing really well in Scotland at the moment and you need that to then get someone else who can reach the level I’ve managed to reach. 

“How can anyone reach the top of their sport if there’s no place to start?

“I have seen the sport in Scotland progress over the past few years and it’s incredibly sad to think about the impact this could have on so many people.”

Gibson is watching the fate of Ayr Ice Rink unfold from afar as he is in the midst of pre-season training in Montreal with his ice dance partner, Lilah Fear,

Last season was the pair’s best, reaching the top of the rankings,  achieving a fourth-placed finish at the World Championships, and claiming a European silver medal which was the best result at the event by a British pair since Torvill and Dean 30 years ago, as well as the first by a Scot.

With the new season beginning next month, Gibson is fully focused on improving on those results.

“Last season went really well for us and it feels like year on year, we’re really progressing,” he says.

“It’s great to be a fan favourite but we’re doing a sport at the end of the day and medals do matter. It’s good to solidify points in our career and that European medal felt like the first time we’d really done that.

“When I started out doing figure skating and even when I stated out doing ice dancing, I absolutely didn’t think I’d get to this point. I thought it might go further but I never thought it’d go this far.

“But this summer, we’ve built on the success we’ve had and so we’re really looking forward to next season.”