Official tribute to skateboarder Jamie backed

A SKATEPARK created with money raised in memory of a Mangotsfield teenager could soon be officially named after him – 12 years after it was built.

Jamie Clapp was only 13 when he was killed in a plane crash in 2007.

His father Gordon wanted a lasting memorial to his son, who loved skateboarding and BMX riding, and with Jamie’s friends he campaigned to secure £100,000 from local councillors, South Gloucestershire Council and the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s Millions partnership.

The skate park opened in 2011 and Gordon regularly visits, meeting Jamie’s friends there each year around the anniversary of his death on July 3.

The fundraisers always believed the park officially carried Jamie’s name – even the signs at the site call it the ‘Jamie Lee Clapp Memorial Skatepark’.

But when council plans to transform the area around the skatepark were confirmed last year, it emerged that Jamie is not recognised in its official registered name, Emersons Green Skate Park.

The council said at the time that the name could be changed, and this has now moved a step closer after all three ward councillors supported the idea.

New Labour councillors Katrina Al-Hassan and Ron Hardie said: “Gordon has campaigned for a long time to make it a really nice space for kids in the community, and having the official name for his son will be a lovely way to remember Jamie.”

Conservative  Rachael Hunt said: “It would be a fitting tribute to his memory, and I will take it up with council officers at the earliest opportunity.”

Gordon, who is gravely ill with oesophageal cancer, joined more than 20 of Jamie’s friends at the park to remember him, weeks before what would have been his 30th birthday.

Gordon said: “The park was built in memory of my son and it’s got to say the name – that’s why we raised the money. I’m glad it’s being appreciated and the councillors have agreed to do the right thing.”

Jamie’s friend Ollie Nemeth, who chaired the skate park fundraising committee, said he was “filled with immense joy” that the official record could now be put straight.

He said: “The skatepark holds significant sentimental value, being a place where Jamie’s spirit thrives and where the community comes together.”

Another friend, Harry Veldkamp, said: “Seeing this skatepark bring joy to people of all ages is great to see – I’m sure Jamie would be proud of us all!”