By Chris Jaffray
A truck-driving mum reconnected with her ice skating-loving teenage son – by secretly taking up the sport herself.
Trucker and mum-of-four Rhian Hughes, 36, had a good relationship with youngster Harry Hughes, 14, but felt they had grown apart over the last few years after his teenage hormones made him less keen to hang out with her.
So Rhian, from Clayton-Le-Moors, Lancs, undertook a three week crash course in ice-skating, something Harry has loved since he was 12.
The sneaky mum, who has been an HGV driver for the last 12 years, even told Harry she was heading to daily college lessons in business to throw him off the scent.
When the 14-year-old saw her perform an incredible routine at Billingham Ice Arena, in Stockton on Tees, last month, he was gobsmacked – sparking an emotional reunion between the pair, who now take the whole family ice-skating together every week.Rhian, also mum to Hugh, nine, Brynn, six, and Gethin, three, said: “We grew apart when Harry became a teenager, we had been best of friends before that then I thought ‘I’ve got someone I don’t know’.
“All I would get from him was a few groans, and he would only come downstairs for a lift to the ice rink – he didn’t talk to me.
“It was nothing in particular, just the teenage years – a lot of people warned me it would happen, but I didn’t realise it would happen to me.
“I had to do something to get my friend back, we had absolutely nothing in common, he was saying things I didn’t understand and was embarrassed by me but now we’ve got a common interest.
“Harry didn’t know about my performance until the last moment so I didn’t know how he would react.
“He was with all his friends so I was hoping he wouldn’t be embarrassed, but when I looked up I could see he was made up.
“Since then it’s been amazing, it has really changed our relationship – it’s the best.
“And best of all, now all my children come skating together with me.”
Rhian last attempted ice skating as a teenager when she was just about able to get across the rink but more than 20 years said the challenge has seen her take to the sport.
When he thought she was undertaking business lessons at college, she was actually undergoing hours of gruelling training in not just ice skating but roller blading, gymnastics and dance.
In order to get her son to Billingham, which is more than two hours’ drive from their home, mum Rhian convinced him he had won VIP tickets to an ice game against the Whitley Warriors and even organised a bus to drive him there.
The teen had enjoyed a restaurant with six friends without suspicion, and it wasn’t until he saw his mother perform he worked out what was going on.
The prank came about after Rhian saw an advert from Cadbury’s looking for families who were seeking to rebuild a bond.
Married Rhian said: “Harry has been ice skating for two years, I now realise it’s because it’s something totally different and you just get away from things while you’re doing it.
“He’s also been encouraging his friends to take part.
“Since I did the course we’ve all been going ice skating as a family, I just wanted my friend back.
“We now go to the ice rink together – and Harry doesn’t have to hold my hand!”