Skates to be used in a special performance by Olympic ice-skaters Torvill and Dean

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Torvill and Dean at this year's Royal Variety Performance Torvill and Dean at this year's Royal Variety Performance

Special ‘ice skates’ invented by a Chingford entrepreneur who turned down £100,000 from the Dragon’s Den were used by Olympic gold medallists when they appeared at the Royal Variety Performance.

Karen O’Neill, of Queens Grove Road in Chingford, and Karen Coombes, from south London, launched the ‘off-ice skate’ in 2009.

They decided to accept an alternative offer after appearing on BBC’s Dragons' Den and receiving an offer from Theo Paphitis for a stake in the footwear, which create the same sensation as ice skating on other surfaces.

The skates have now been used by former Olympic ice dancers Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean for their royal performance, which will be broadcast on Monday.

Torvill and Dean approached Off-Ice Skating to request a pair each, but the company had no idea why.

It was only on the day of the performance that Mrs O’Neill found out her product was being used for such a prestigious event.

She said: "I always knew they were interested in the concept of the skates, but for confidentiality reasons we did not know what they had in mind and, of course, we were not prepared to turn down the once in a lifetime opportunity.

"This is such an honour for us, and if our skates are worthy of Torvill and Dean then it just shows how our invention can be successful and opened up to the wider community.”

The skates were launched in 2011 and have since been used for training by top professional skaters.


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