It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Janet Sawbridge MBE on Friday 5th March 2021, passing peacefully away with her daughter at her side.
To those of you who knew Janet you will remember her as one of the most amazing people you could have met in life, as a person soft, and determined, but quiet never ever boasted about her achievements as an athlete or coach but had a wicked sense of humour and was fun to be around.
Janet took to the ice at the Summerhill Road ice rink in Birmingham, where she trained under the watchful eye of Harry Francis, and went on to achieve 2nd place in the junior British ladies in 1961 and finished 3rd in the Senior British ladies in 1965. But also during this period (1962-1965) had formed an ice dance partnership with David Hicks (Hickinbottom) finishing 2nd in the British ice dance in 1963 and 1st in 1964 and 1965 finishing. 2nd in both European and World championships, under the watchful eye of Miss Hogg at Queens ice skating club in London.
With this fantastic result Janet was offered to compete in both ladies free skating, and ice dance in the 1965 European championships in Moscow, but declined the offer to concentrate on a podium position in ice dance which she did, it is almost unheard of for a skater to be selected for more than one discipline in the same championship.
Janet then went on to skate with Jon Lane finishing 3rd in the British Championships in 1966, 1967 & 1968 and 3rd in Europeans Worlds in 1968 and 2nd in Europeans in 1969.
Following on in her career Janet partnered up with Peter Dalby finishing 1st in the British championships in 1972 and 3rd in Europeans that year, in 1973 they finished 2nd in the British championships and regained their title in 1975.
Janet was honoured with an MBE for her services to ice skating on June 15th, 1974 and was inducted into the NSA (now BIS) hall of fame.
Her competitive career ended in 1975 after a period of some 19 years, she turned professional and turned to coaching, using her experience to its greatest, spotting talent and in her kind quiet way got the best from her pupils.
Whilst coaching at Nottingham Ice Stadium Janet saw potential in Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean as a partnership in ice dance and arranged for them to try out together, this was the start of a magical partnership that Janet nurtured and worked with producing a new era of British ice dance, she tirelessly worked with them taking them to European and World championships where they were noticed thanks to Janet’s skill as a talent spotter and coach.
In 1976 Janet married Trevor Salisbury and became pregnant in July 1977, and continued coaching until the time when she realised that it was going to be so difficult to have a family life while coaching future world and Olympic champions, so the one of the hardest decisions of her life had to be made to quit coaching and raise a family with her husband Trevor, her daughter Fay was born in March 78.
In her family life Janet was a devoted wife, mother to Fay and a grandmother to Hugo Rhys.
In all the following years Janet never forgot her times on the ice and always referred to Torvill and Dean as her babies, and followed their progress over the years, you can never take ice or passion out of a skater.
We have very fond memories of Janet from her competitive career up until recently, and were so lucky to have spent time with her over the last 8 years, and to be honoured by her coming into Nottingham to help us with our pattern dances.
Our thoughts go out to the family.
May you rest in peace fly with the angels or even better skate with them.
Written by David and Pat Arnold.
Many thanks to Elaine Hooper for your help supplying information for this memoriam.