IN A wheelchair and wrapped in her winter coat, who would guess 81-year-old Angela Humphrey was the best dancer at Oxford Ice Rink yesterday?

But 55 years ago, the grandmother-of-four was one of the first ice dancers to appear on BBC television as part of the corps de ballet in weekly live shows from Empress Hall, in London.

Under her stage name Annette Reese, she appeared alongside Frankie Vaughan and Norman Wisdom, and taught screen legends Richard Burton and Claire Bloom to dance.

Yesterday she had a tear in her eye as she took to the ice for the first time in 50 years, as one of 60 care home residents taken to Oxford Ice Rink for International Day for Older Persons.

Pensioners from 14 Oxfordshire care homes were pushed around the rink in their wheelchairs, and treated to a live performance from the Oxford Freestylers dance troupe.

Mrs Humphrey, of The Meadows care home, Didcot, said: “I have been excited the whole week looking forward to it.

“I never thought I would go back on the ice again.”

“It is a wonderful day for me, and has brought back all the memories of me, being on the ice.

“I feel my younger days are coming back to me.

“Whenever I used to dance, I used to feel the whole world was with me, and I still feel the excitement of it, even being in a wheelchair.”

The trip to the ice rink was organised by the Orders of St John Care Trust, which brought pensioners in wheelchairs from 14 of its nursing homes.

Organiser Sharon Wheeler said: “I had the idea in 2005, and waited until my manager was on holiday before I did it.

“It was a risk, and not everybody is going to like it, but most people say it is an experience they will never forget.

“Each year more homes have got involved, and when you see the volunteers from St Gregory the Great School holding the pensioners’ hands, it is amazing.

“Even though they are in wheelchairs, it still feels like they are skating.”

Audrey Scott, 79, from Spencer Court care home, Woodstock, said: “The last time I was here was 1985 when I was in my 50s.

“It is very strange to be back. The spirit is still there, but the body is not really, but it makes me want to have a go again.”

And 92-year-old old Margaret Rowland, who had never skated before, said: “I enjoy the speed more than anything.

“It is the fastest I have travelled for a long time.”