Skaters revel as Stansted skate park opens despite vandal attack
- Credit: Archant
Residents rescued the official opening of Stansted’s new skate park on Sunday (August 9) by clearing oil that had been deliberately poured on the ramps by vandals.
Ray Woodcock, of Chapel Hill, discovered the damage at 8.30am at the site off Lower Street on Sunday morning, with the official ceremony of the £170,000 project due to start at 11am.
Mr Woodcock raised the alarm and members of the community rallied to clean the area, which meant the opening was only delayed by 20 minutes.
He said: “When I went to the skate park to check that it was clean and ready for the official opening, I was shocked and horrified to see that oil had been deliberately poured onto critical parts of it. If it was not cleaned very quickly it would have been to dangerous to use.
“I spoke to Trevor Lloyd, our deputy parish council clerk, and within minutes we met at the skate park so that we could assess what we could do.
About 30 minutes later many people from the village came to the rescue with their brooms and cleaning materials.
“One of the Stansted firefighters came and arranged special cleaning materials, it really seemed the actions had been preplanned in the parish council emergency action plan.”
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The skate park was funded almost entirely by community fundraising efforts and Mr Woodcock said the village’s youngsters were appalled at the act of vandalism.
“The kids could just not understand why the perpetrators of this stupid act would do such a thing.
“Fortunately, a super group of people worked very hard to clean up, the skate park opened and the kids were able to use it safely.
“We expect the closed circuit cameras have recorded who did this and the police are now investigating. Now let justice take its course.”
The opening ceremony was attended by Cllr Jon Aldridge, vice chairman of Essex County Council, parish council chairman Maureen Caton and former Starlight Express cast member, Matt King, who tested the new ramps with the youngsters.
Deputy parish council clerk Trevor Lloyd said: “I was absolutely devastated to begin with, and struggled to get my head around this mindless act of vandalism.
“There has been a significant fundraising effort to get this £170,000 project off the ground through quiz nights, raffles, and events, so for this to happen was heart-breaking.
“However, the community really showed strength through adversity and it turned into a really great community day.
Police are asking anyone with any information about the incident to call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.