It seems like years. That’s because it is. Years and years people have campaigned to get a skatepark in Bridgwater. Now they have one. It’s in Westover and it’s one of the biggest and best in the South West. It’s been designed by the users (who’ve had their names engraved into the concrete..with only one slight mis-spelling) and now it’s finally open.
The skatepark was opened today, Saturday 14th December 2013, with the cutting of the ribbon by long term skatepark campaigner and skater George Rollinson, who,several years back, had led a skateboard protest through the High Street with others wearing only their boxer shorts. Well, it’s probably what Trotsky would have done. Although when he asked Stalin for a skatepark it didn’t turn out too well.
The official delegation today included the first citizens of Bridgwater (Mayor Dave Loveridge) and Sedgemoor (Cllr Peter Downing) along with portfolio holder Cllr John Swayne, Ward County Councillor Leigh Redman, and neighbouring ward member Cllr Gill Slocombe. Er, plus loads of skaterkids, but they didn’t have chains on.
Standing atop the longawaited skatepark was Sedgemoor officer Rob Semple, who had been tasked with bringing the park to actuality from getting funding in place to assembling the user group to completion. Rob also wasn’t wearing a chain, but deserved one.
Also present was the secretary of the skatepark campaign group, Laura Costello, who had organised the skaters and BMX’ers through a series of meetings which led to the achievement of the mini skateparks at Cranleigh and Victoria.
The skatepark is on the site of the YMCA, which was crucial for resolving the key final jigsaw which was the provision of the land. Director of the YMCA Martin Hodgson was present alongside his team of workers and his Chairman of the Board John Ennals who , in a short speech, said how he’d told his own skateboarding son that the skatepark was finally here, only to discover he’d grown up and moved to Australia in the meantime.
Westover Councillor Brian Smedley, whose ‘land survey’ had identified the YMCA as the choice of preference and who, along with his fellow Westover councillors, had agreed to allocate the wards RLT leisure funds to the skatepark, said “The campaign has been a long one but we got there in the end. As Chairman Mao said, ‘the long march began with a single skateboard ride’. But of course would have been quicker if it had been downhill.