Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Bury Saint Edmunds Skatepark's Fight for Light

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Word's & photos by Paul Jackson

Image result for bury st edmunds skatepark experience
The Park

Bury St. Edmunds skatepark on Olding Road has been around for 20 years now and has although it's been through some serious changes in the last few years, the lighting has never been quite right.
Back when the wooden park was built around '99, there were no lights. Use of the park was restricted to only being safe in hours of daylight. Once the user group had convinced the council there was a need, lights were supplied but were never up to the standard required to sufficiently light the facility. The usual issue of a local authority not really understanding the need and costs. 
Over the years however, the relationship that has been built between the users and the local authority through the charity Bury St. Edmunds Skatepark Experience that was set up to more easily raise the £300k needed to replace the old, rotten, wooden park with the concrete park now standing on Olding Road site has led to a greater understanding and appreciation by the council as to not only what is required to light the site, but also the positive effect adventure sports have on young people and how the community that uses the park support and respect each other which in turn leads to greater respect for others and their surroundings longer term.
Bury Saint Edmunds Skatepark Experience is made up of a group of 7 trustees, all volunteers and most are long term users of the park going back 20 years. They make nothing from the charity itself. All their time and fundraising efforts are given for free. 
To enable the building of the concrete park meant taking advantage of a couple of large, time limited grants that enabled us to get it done sooner rather than years later. The decision to adapt the lighting equipment supplied for the original park to light the concrete one was made so that the new park could be built in one phase. If lighting had been replaced at the same time the money would have run out long before the park had been completed and providing a safe park in daylight hours was seen as more important than lighting it sufficiently in the dark of winter. 
Once the new £300k park built by the well respected British park builders - Wheelscape was open, the charity began raising money to complete an extensive overhaul of the lighting with a brand new lighting scheme designed to not only get rid of all the little dark patches but also use low-energy, LED lighting. This project has been costed at £21k. That includes a complete replacement of cable, lighting pillars and light heads. 
Along with using brighter lights, the position & increased number of lighting pillars has been planned to give much better lighting of the entire site. 

The charity Bury Saint Edmunds Skatepark Experience has already raised £18,000 and now only needs £2000 to fund the project. The charity, with the aid of St. Edmundsbury Borough Council (soon to be West Suffolk Council) is continuing to fund raise and applying for further grants with the aim of fulfilling the shortfall. But any funds raised by the users or parents of users I know would be most gratefully received! It's not like you pay any other kind of fee to use the park. The council fund the day to day maintenance through the parks & recreation council tax contributions. Repairs and improvements are paid for by the charity Bury St. Edmunds Skatepark Experience (Charity no:115 3237) through their fund-raising work during the annual summer jam and holding other charged-entry events throughout the year at the park including gigs, art shows, competitions, bowl jams & BBQs, lessons and female only sessions. 
The place is a safe, secure space for all to use. Anyone is welcome. It's generally self policed, but the addition of a CCTV camera plumbed into the town centre system was made at the end of 2018. This camera network is surveyed 24/7 keeping everyone safe and providing evidence in any investigations resulting from reports of any antisocial behaviour. This camera can provide much better coverage with better lighting!

The charity want to complete the project before the school summer break is finished, setting up the park for long autumn evening sessions under your new, super bright lights.
If you are a user, how can you justify not giving a pound or a fiver to improve your park? 
Please, please head to the charity's Facebook page and click DONATE on one of the recent posts to give what you can.

 Just look at the photos below and tell me this place isn't good for young people's personal development. Many of the people pictured have gone on to great things. Highly skilled carpenters, graphic designers, successful photographers, professional BMXers & skateboarders, company owners, market development managers, environmental systems managers, tattoo artists. Some still live in the UK, some have moved to various European locations and one now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. And all of them are good people with values and morals. 
Tell me this place doesn't help to get people where they are now. Tell me it's not better than sitting indoors staring at a screen while the sun shines. Tell me it's not better than sitting in the bus shelter at the end of the street learning to smoke & drink. Tell me you can safely leave your child anywhere else in the town with nothing much more than the clothes they're covered in and a board, bike or scooter for the day at no cost. NO COST.

Teenaged Harley, Alby and Noddy - three very regular locals drying out the ramps after a cloud burst back in 2007

Harley Miller - f/s air in 2007

Another earlier one. This one's of Dom Tinkler. The first person I skated with when I moved to 
Bury St. Edmunds back in 2001. Taken at the 2007 Summer Jam. Now living on the east coast of Australia.

Fuller - stale fish in 2008

Long time Bury local Stoney back in 2007
Taken in 2013. This one is one of the last shot at the old wooden park. Harley Miller nailing the gnarliest transfer there ever has been in Bury!
Dom Tinkler visiting from Australia for the opening Jam in 2014.

BSE original Joe Embery rides for FBM Bikes, 4Down Distribution, Bicycle Union, Etnies BMX and Hardcore Hobbies mid flare - opening jam 2014
Tom Bird or Little Tom as he used to be known. Now living life and 'writing, art directing, designing & when necessary, building' in Amsterdam and across the globe.
Frontside air on a short visit home for the reopening of the park he grew up skating. 2014. www.tombirdistheword.com
Joe Embery sending on for the crowd in 2014
Charlie Munro I met when he was asked to skate for Milk Skateboards. One of the best guys to travel with for sure. Seen some things in BCN with this fella!
He's got massive skateboard talent too. Now riding for Levis Skateboarding New Balance and Primitive Skateboards. Kickflip from park to pump track at the 2014 opening jam.
Fuller - Legend in the East Anglian skate world. Transfer from bowl to feeble on the barrier. 
Essex boy & highly respected Bury St. Edmunds tattooist Aaron Clapham - step up airwalk some time in 2014. www.instagram.com/cathedral_tattoo
Ryan Mitson - f/s flip. 2014.
Aaron Clapham - tre flip. 2014.

Jake Royal began to lurk at the original park around 2006/07. Here's one from the new park in 2014. Pop over tail drop.
Scott Feveryear - b/s flip. 2014

Aaron Clapham - ollie
Jake Royal - kick flip over the Hubba

Anon - f/s boneless at the 2016 Four Wheel Fools BBQ

Ben Jones - no comply 5-0 at the Four Wheel Fools BBQ in 2016

John Harvey - b/s boneless at the Four Wheel Fools BBQ in 2016.
Long-time pro Mark Munson (Creature Skateboards, Muckefuck Urethane) and owner of Navitas Outdoors - point & shoot b/s smith. Taken at the Four Wheel Fools BBQ in 2016.
Munson - b/s tail slide revert at the Four Wheel Fools BBQ. (After 3 or 4 real gnarly slams!) 
The late Luke Jarvis RIP - Madonna
Jed Jolly - b/s smith

One of the original campaigners for the park and
former staffer at Hardcore Hobbies Dom Tinkler with a former
Trustee, Stu Barnham of Again BMX striking a pose.

Long time Hardcore Hobbies staffer Jamie Guy park to pump transfer

Death Skateboards flow rider Ben Broyd sticks a f/s grind up and over the clam shell
Colchester local Jake Bolt foot plant's into the bowl 
Triplesword / former Empire Skatepark staffer Toby Gozzett - 180 switch crook
A young local ripper at RADitude 2018
This is Harley Miller. Harley is a local who grew up skating the old park. Formally a Milk Skateboards rider, he's spent a number of years travelling and skating in Europe for the likes of Dickies & Vox Footwear. He's now ripping London terrain whilst honing his joinery & carpentry skills working for Joe Golding - another OG Bury skateboarder. Golding Bespoke Woodwork
The queue builds for 2017 summer Jam
Ash Finlay is a Stowmarket lad. He's always at the park throwing down a flare or a huge table like this one. He's got loads of sponsors including Impurity Bikes.

Will, another local lad pictured at the 2018 RADitude Weekender. Kickflip.

Another one of Ash Finlay flying high

This is Max Bent-Marshall. He's a member of the BSE Crew. A scooter collective from Bury.
Young riders look up to him and the rest of the group.
They've grown into courteous, well mannered young adults spending
many hours at the park not only riding, but helping younger riders out.

John Howlett  - b/s tailslide at RADitude 2018
Max Melwarni is another regular visitor from Stowmarket. Biiiiiiiig f/s flip from low to high
No idea who this guy is. He flies high with a smile on his face, so he can't be all that bad!
Harley Miller again. Transferring from the bowl behind, 
over and into the jersey barrier

Donate a pound, or a fiver, or more if you can afford to. 
Keep your eyes on the blog for more news including a new FOUR WHEEL FOOLS t-shirt collaborative design celebrating 20 years of the parks existence with all proceeds going to the lighting replacement project. We will hopefully be working with a local screen printing organisation from here in Bury St. Edmunds.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Rak n Roll Dayer 2019


Get your tickets for Rak n Roll Dayer NOW and remember Luke the way he'd be remembering you!

Live music all day, beers & food all day, two ramps from King Ramps, skateboard comp with cash prizes and skate lessons from Two Toed. 

Here's some pics from the last couple of years courtesy of Paul Jackson.

Words & photos by Paul Jackson

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