Skating star Robin Cousins has called for a new ice rink which could double as a venue for other sports.

The Olympic gold medalist said the project was vital for the future of Brighton and Hove and revealed he had already held discussions with potential backers.

He made his plea after taking hundreds of children and adults for skating sessions on a temporary rink laid down for ice spectacular Colours of Dance, which runs at the Brighton Centre from next Wednesday until February 3.

The 44-year-old skating star, who took the men's figure skating Olympic gold in 1980, has become a travelling ambassador for his sport.

His roots are now firmly in Brighton where he lives on the seafront and he wants his adopted city to become one of the leading sports venues in the UK.

He declared: "If Brighton and Hove is to be a future European City of Culture, then it is vital it has an indoor sports centre.

"The demand is there for ice skating, and other sports in the city. All we need to do is provide the people of Brighton and Hove with what they want."

He added: "I am not talking about a purpose-built ice rink because a large venue solely for ice skating would not work. What we need is a small indoor stadium where, of course, there would be a large rink that could be transformed into a facility for other sports.

"I am talking about basketball, tennis, gymnastics and boxing. At present some of these sports take place at the Brighton Centre and Hove Town Hall, but they have to fit in with other functions at these centres.

"There could also be a permanent smaller rink that could be used for warm up routines and be always available when other things are on at the centre. A stadium for 5,000 or 6,000 spectators would be ideal.

"I am positive some National Lottery funding would be available for the project. I have already had several discussions with potential backers. But the question is: where do you build one?

"You only have to see the problems the Albion are having at the moment in trying to get permission for a new stadium at Falmer.

"I would have thought there was enough room for an indoor stadium at Black Rock, close by Brighton Marina."

One of those on the ice with Robin yesterday was Daniel Theobald, 15, who won a personal lesson with the star in a competition run by The Argus.

Daniel is the son of Brighton and Hove councillors Geoffrey and Carol Theobald.

Also taking part was Clare Rooney, wife of Paul Rooney, managing director of estate agents Wyatt and Son, who bid £500 at the launch of The Argus Appeal so Clare could have a special lesson with Robin.