THE mayor of Bournemouth voiced his hopes the town will have a permanent ice rink again one day as he pulled on his skates.

Cllr Philip Stanley-Watts and his sister Gill Giles took to the ice on the last day of the outdoor festive rink in the Lower Gardens as he continues his recovery from suffering a cardiac arrest in November.

The Boscombe councillor used to skate at the old rink in Westover Road before it closed down in 1991 and would love to see a permanent replacement in the town.

“There’s a long tradition of skating in Bournemouth,” he said.

“We’ve been pushing for a long time for a permanent rink and one would go well in King’s Park.”

A new gymnasium has opened at the site of the old Westover Road rink.

But Bournemouth council has planning permission for a 5,000-seater ice stadium in King’s Park and sought interest from developers.

And Independent councillor Ron Whittaker has argued that the popularity of the outdoor Christmas attraction and the one currently inside the BIC illustrates a permanent rink would prosper.

Tracy Turrell-Davies, operations manager at the Lower Gardens rink, said both rinks have been “extremely busy” and it is hoped the outdoor rink will become a Christmas fixture.

The festive rink remained popular on its last day of opening and cllr Stanley-Watts said he has been trying to remain within his limits since he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed in the changing rooms at the Littledown Sports Centre.

He completed a 2k charity run at Christmas.

His sister Gill, 53, who lives near Wimborne, said: “I think he’s getting back to full health but he still has to take it easy.”