Skateboarders reach for the 'Sky' to keep dreams alive

Young skateboarders are reaching for the 'Sky' inspired by a 13-year-old girl who has become Britain’s youngest Olympic medalist with skateboard bronze.

Bradley Meese, aged 13, who rides at X-site skatepark in Skegness says he has been inspired by the Olympics.

Sky Brown's breathtaking tricks - alongside those of her 25-year-old GB teammate Charlotte Worthington, who took the first ever BMX Freestyle Olympic gold medal - have rocketed extreme sports into the world arena.

Their achievements have also created a new buzz in Lincolnshire at a time when some skate parks, which years ago were the dream of many local youngsters, are struggling to survive due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One resident in Alford has been so inspired by the Games and the back stories of the extreme sports competitors that he is determined to keep those dreams alive.

Jayden Whiteley rides at X-site skatepark in Skegness.

Luke Matthew has started a petition on change.org appealing to Alford Town Council, East Lindsey District Council, Alford Memorial Park and Alford Memorial Park to improve facilities.

He said: "Although I don't skateboard myself, I’m trying to help redevelop the skatepark in Alford for our community following the recent success of team GB.

"Quite frankly, it is a sad excuse for a skate park. Activities and opportunities for the youth in Alford and surrounding local villages are extremely limited.

"There are fantastic parks in Skegness, Mablethorpe and Boston but these are all a bus journey away for the people of Alford, Willoughby and Bilsby.

A petition has been started for improved facilities at Alford.

"With the support of the local community I’m hoping the memorial park trustees will expand and improve it for our community."

In other parts of the county the new buzz for the sport has been short-lived.

X-site skatepark in Skegness, which re-opened in May as Covid-19 restrictions eased, announced last week it had been forced to close for 10 days due to a case of Covid-19.

The park, which opened in 2006 following a campaign by local skaters and BMXers started in the back room of a local fish and chip shop in 2000, caters for both skateboarders and BMX riders.

X-site skatepark in Skegness.

An appeal was launched last year to help it survive lockdown so having to close in the summer holidays has been an additional blow to not only the park but also the youngsters who use it and have been inspired by the Games.

Bradley Meese, at 13 the same age as Sky, is a regular skateboarder at X-site and says watching Sky at the Olympics has really motivated him.

He also commented that the Games would especially bring more girls into skateboarding.

According to Skateboard GB an estimated 750,000 people skateboard in the UK and only 15% of those are female.

A new skatepark opening in Boston Central Park in September last year.

"It is inspiring to us younger skaters to have someone like Sky Brown preforming in the Olympics," said Bradley., of Skegness.

"This motivates me and others to try and push ourselves towards trying better things in the skateboarding community.

"Sky Brown is the future of girls' skateboarding because she wants to complete in these competitions and excel - inspiring more young girls to to try skateboarding."

Mum Alison Comfort has been watching the Olympics with her 12-year-old son.

"We have watched the Olympics every day and the skateboarding was awesome," she said.

"My son goes to X-site In Skegness on his skateboard and scooter and we are so lucky to have something like this in our home town.

Sky Brown, 13, has become the youngest Olympic medalist with a bronze for skateboarding.

"It is a great place to practice. He has made friends and they help each other doing stunts."

Elsie Gaugha, who was on holiday in Skegness, said her 13-year-old grandson Jayden Whiteley rides a scooter and visited the X-site park for the first time before it was closed again due to Covid.

"My grandson is 13 and he loved the outside ramps - although it is very untidy and needs weeding and a good clean up.

"For a 13-year-old girl to win the Olympics at skateboarding was so inspirational to all the young children."

Boston Skatepark, which was finally completed in September last year after the project was halted by coronavirus, is also reporting greater interest due to the Games..

The £234,000 facility at Boston’s Central Park- which also began with a petition on change.org started by 13-year-old Hazel Summerfield, known as Dibber - has 22 different challenges for children and young people to develop their skating and riding skills.

Paul Goodale, chairman of Boston Town Area Committee, said opening the park shows Boston was a positive step forward after months of uncertainty.

He said: “It’s nice to bring something positive on the back of the pandemic. People are very grateful for the park and using it ensures its future.

“The skate park is a fantastic facility for the town and has given Central Park a new purpose. It gives local young people something positive to do.”

Matthew Thomas, 32, of Sutton on Sea plans to attend an a competition at the skatepark in Boston at the weekend.

He said: "I think skateparks have come a long way in my lifetime.

"As10-year-olds, we struggled to get to any parks - I think the closest being Boston.

"We were lucky to have a friend that used to go to one in Peterborough quite regularly and they made full use of the mini van.

"Nowadays skateparks are common and I applaud that.

"There is so much variety between different parks and the fact that most towns now have one is great.

"The level of skating you see in these parks is amazing and I'd say its thanks to the availability of parks in 2021.

"I'm planning to attend two events next weekend - one in Beeston, Notts, and one in Boston. Both of these and events with competitions."

To support Luke's campaign for improved facilities at Alford, visit www.change.org/AlfordSkateParkWHERE YOU CAN FIND OTHER SKATEPARKS IN LINCOLNSHIRE

SLEAFORD

Boston Road, Sleaford NG34 7HH

BARDNEY

Bardney Playing Field (off Horncastle Road, Lincoln LN3 5XG

WADDINGTON

Station Road, Waddington. LN5 9FZ

MARKET RASEN

Market Rasen LN8 3DB

GRIMSBY

41 Kent Street, Grimsby DN32 7DJ

BRIGG

6 River Meadow, Scawby Brook, Scawby, Brigg DN20 9JW

STAMFORD

Stamford Recreation Ground, Stamford PE9 1EN

SPALDING SKATEPARK

Spalding PE11 2HY

DAME SARAH SWIFT, KIRTON

Church Lane, Kirton, Boston PE20 1EL

CLEETHORPES

Trinity Skate Park, Cleethorpes DN35 8UN

LOUTH SKATEPARK

Wood Lane, Louth LN11 8SA

Charlotte Worthington took the first ever BMX Freestyle Olympic gold medal.