Liverpool ice skating champion dies aged 91

A Liverpool ice skating champion has died aged 91.

Joan Noble was born in Liverpool on May 29, 1930 and fell in love with skating aged 9 after being taken to the Blackpool Ice Show as a childhood treat.

Showing precocious talent in figure skating at the Liverpool Ice Palace, she was encouraged to take artistic and ice dancing tests, all passing to the “gold standard”.

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She continued to skate during the war even after the rink was badly damaged in the May Blitz.

At the end of the war, her priority was to train for the British Junior Ladies Figure Skating Championship, which she won in 1947 by a wide margin over her competitors, the second consecutive year that the title had been won by a skater. of Liverpool.



Joan Lister 1949 European Championships Switzerland

Future Olympic champion, Jeannette Altwegg had won the previous year.

In 1949 Joan was selected to skate at the European and World Championships, but unfortunately had to withdraw from the World Championships due to food poisoning. She has also been invited to give skating exhibitions all over the UK and in Paris, Milan and Switzerland.



Joan-Lister-1947-Junior Champion
Joan-Lister-1947-Junior Champion

Joan then turned professional and joined Liverpool’s ice rink coaching staff in March 1950.

Among his students were future world champion Jean Westwood and future British champions or medalists Joyce Coates, Tony Holles, Vivian Higson, Bob Hudson and Brian Tuck.

Joan continued to teach until late 1955, when skating was to take up backstage while she raised her family.



Torvill and Dean with Joan Noble
Torvill and Dean with Joan Noble

She returned to the ice in the 1960s as a judge and progressed on the international jury of the International Skating Union, the world governing body.

In this role, she served as a judge at some of the world’s most important skating events, including World Championships.

At the same time, Joan was elected to serve on the National Skating Association committee, a position she held for over 30 years.

Joan was a national champion, international competitor, coach, judge and team manager for the UK Skating Team, but she devoted just as much time to the Liverpool Skating Clubs, guiding skaters and advising them on how to improve their skills, changes to their performance and program content.

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Liverpool Eskimos chairman Barbara McGrouther said:[The skaters] listened to and followed his advice – because it was from Joan that he was appreciated.

“She made a difference to the skaters at Liverpool, and they were proud that ‘their judge’ was internationally renowned and respected, but always had time for them.”

Joan died in Woolton on December 10, 2021 and is survived by her sons David and Barry, her four grandsons and her great-grandchildren.

(Reports and additional information by Elaine Hooper, historian of the British Institute of Skating)

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