Friday, 10 February 2017

Empire Skatepark - The Final Session

Although none of us knew it at the time, this was to be the final Skate Night at the longtime home for so many of the Essex Wednesday night session. 
We now know that shortly after this session, Lewis & Harry arrived at the park later in the same week to find the locks changed and a notice of eviction taped to the front door. After immediate negotiations with the landlords and owners of the building, it became apparent quickly that the park would not be reopening at the same location. 
Here at Four Wheel Fools we are gutted. The RAD things that have gone down over the years. The demos, comps, the parties, The Lords Of The Swords Awards Nights, Go Skateboarding Day events, the building and opening of The Out Back. To have it ripped from the skate community in north Essex at a time when the scene is at it's richest in years is a slam we can all do without.
In no small part is the strengthening of the skate scene in Essex (and more widely) due to the constant hard work of both Harry and Lewis, Toby Gozzett, Mark Munson, Elliot Simmons and many, many volunteers and friends that worked to keep the park going. And let us not forget the unquenchable thirst of Jack Kenward alongside Warren to complete the DIY concrete monster out back during last year. The filmers and photographers that recorded the day to day; Warren Munson, Jack, Cerven Cotter, Dave Pettingill. And of course the skaters. The lurkers that come and go, the parents and kids, the ones who've grown up or grown old in the park. Those few that astounded us all with the gnarliest, RADest tricks and lines. 
It never seemed like we were customers of a business although we all paid our fee. More like a subscription to a massive, earth spanning society. All with the same wish; to enjoy the rolling around. Whatever the reason, may it be to escape difficulties elsewhere, to hang out with your mates, to learn something new, whatever. We all, all of us got something great from the park. We all played our part and gave so much. I for one have a catalogue of over 300 photos from 2012 through to this last session to look back on with a great feeling of accomplishment that we did something good. 
The hole left by the closure is huge. More noticeable at this time of year but, from the ashes will rise a phoenix. As soon as the news hit, a petition was started by a regular park user Leo, asking for council help to save the park collecting 2,500 signatures in less than a week. Negotiations are ongoing to ensure that Colchester continues to offer an high quality indoor facility in a property with a more secure future.  
What will be will be. I guess everyone will want to play a part in what is to come as we have done before. And who knows, in a couple of years we might be beginning a new DIY build out the back once the linchpin returns to the fold. 
So enjoy the last memories of the thing that was Empire Skatepark. We'll be sharing again some of the best posts from the last five years over the next few weeks. Keep your set adjusted to this channel.

Andrew Houghton - slob sub box foot plant

Tariq Abdel-Rahim - b/s r'n'r
Ian Clark - sub box foot plant board varial

Thaxx - f/s ollie

Mikey Joyce - f/s boneless (1)

Thaxx again - f/s nose grind tail grab

Mikey Joyce - f/s boneless (2)

Mikey Joyce boneless over Thaxx back lipping the door. Mental.

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