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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Harriet Harman gets her skates on for visit to Carlisle

Lacking grace but with a dogged determination, Labour's Harriet Harman took to Carlisle’s skating rink as she embraced the city’s new wave of culture.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture was on a visit to offer her support to prospective parliamentary candidate Lee Sherriff.

Her first stop was the former fire station in Rickergate, which could become home to a permanent arts centre, before she joined children from Saint Margaret Mary Primary School in Kirklands Road, Upperby, on the skating rink. The pupils were being treated with a trip to the ice rink as a reward for their ongoing hard work towards their SATs.

Ms Harman said: “I think the arts centre is going to be tremendous for the future and people will really look back and see it has been pivotal in regenerating Carlisle’s place in the country.

“Carlisle has got such a great history and tradition, and the culture and creativity of the castle and college: it needed this lovely old building to bring it all together.”

She praised the vision of the council for not “selling it off to a developer for a few flats and some ground-floor shops”, but instead for working on preserving the heritage.

From there they moved to the rink to join the pupils having fun.

Despite the held breaths of those around them, Ms Harman and Ms Sherriff were brave enough to pull on their skates and complete a circuit of the rink in Bitts Park.

They let go of the edge long enough to pose with the youngsters for a photo, managing to avoid sharing the fate of many of the 10 and 11-year-olds who ended up on the floor.

Headteacher Chris Wilkins said that not only were they aware of the addition to their skating party but had also spent time researching Ms Harman and her role within Parliament.

“This is a great facility,” the MP said. “You can see the kids throwing themselves into it. It is a fantastic use of money.”

Ms Harman gave added praise to the proposed Urban Adventure being built alongside the rink, complete with rope walk, zip wire and climbing wall.

Ms Sherriff said she was privileged to be able to show off the city she is so proud of, and one day hopes to represent.

The two women then carried out some canvassing with Labour candidate Christine Bowditch in the Cumbria County Council by-election in Belle Vue.

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