Skaters’ joy as they take over park

NEW ERA James Weetch performs the official ribbon jump  with John Thurston, left, and Simon Tiller looking on.     Picture: Paul Jacobs (111203-3)
NEW ERA James Weetch performs the official ribbon jump with John Thurston, left, and Simon Tiller looking on. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111203-3)
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A NEW era has begun at Southsea Skate Park after it was officially handed over by Portsmouth City Council to a charity.

A group of trustees will now make decisions about the running of the park and will take sole responsibility, instead of having to contact the council on a regular basis.

Celebrations took place at the park throughout the weekend with music and competitions.

Simon Tiller, a trustee of the charity, said: ‘This is about telling people that we are taking over.

‘It’s going to be more comm- unity-based. Extreme sports are popular. This place is like a family. You end up with a lot of friends.

‘The council has always been limited by money. But now we can get money from different things. We can ask independent companies to sponsor us.’

The skate park has introduced a stereo system for the first time.

‘The music is so important in a young adult’s life,’ added Simon.

‘Having the background music makes a lot of difference.’

Effraim Catlow, a manager at the park, said: ‘The whole weekend was the reopening of the skate park from being council-run to a charity-run business. It was a celebration of that. It’s an important facility for young people in Portsmouth. It’s always been liked. It’s a fantastic facility.’

John Thurston, who ran the park for 10 years in the 1980s, officially cut the ribbon to the park.

He said: ‘I used to come here in the 1950s on a Saturday morning. This has been a part of my life for a long time.’

To sponsor the skate park visit southseaskatepark.com or call (023) 9282 5005.