Mother of Ben Wragge says plans for homes ‘increase need for skate park’

Ben Wragge
Ben Wragge

The mother of Ben Wragge says a proposed influx of homes in Thurston increases the need for a skate park in his memory.

Claire Wragge, 41, wants to see a skate park built in Thurston as a tribute to her son, who died aged 13 last year in a tragic airgun accident.

It’s a community project, it’s for the whole community and it’s something the whole community needs. But obviously people want it for Ben and I want it for Ben.

Claire Wragge

With proposals for hundreds of new homes in the village, Claire says this strengthens the case for the facility which has attracted community support.

She said: “Ben was a keen skater and he was always out on his BMX.

“The kids and teenagers haven’t got anything in the village. There are going to be hundreds of extra families and there’s nowhere for them to go.

“The kids are having to travel (elsewhere) when there should be something in a village of this size.

“They need somewhere and the people in the village want to do this for Ben in his honour.”

The New Green Community Trust had investigated developing a skatepark on its site but could not get landlord approval.

The trust asked the village community if they wanted to take the idea forward and form a group to manage the project, which coincided with Ben’s death in May last year.

The Ben Wragge Skate Park Committee has since raised more than £18,000 following donations and a number of events.

Claire, of Thurston, said: “People have been amazing and I’m completely humbled by people’s compassion and their love.”

She said that a piece of land has been offered for the skate park but they are trying to see if it is feasible to use the land.

The committee is still appealing for people who may have alternative pieces of land to come forward.

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, who has met Claire, said she is looking forward to visiting the proposed site soon to learn more about the plans.

She said: “There is a real strength of feeling amongst the family, friends and the community to have Ben remembered and areas like a skate park are really important in ensuring young people have a safe place to enjoy themselves and to socialise.”

Asked when she would like to see the skate park in place, Claire said: “Obviously Ben’s friends are 15 now and it would be nice to get it up and sorted before they’re too old to use it.”

She added: “It’s a community project, it’s for the whole community and it’s something the whole community needs. But obviously people want it for Ben and I want it for Ben.”

Steve Button, chairman of the committee, said the skate park could cost between £100,000 to £150,000.

He added: “Once we’ve got the land and planning permission then we can apply for grants. The fund-raising we’ve done already will give us more credibility.”

They are also looking for new members to join the committee who have a legal and accountancy background.

Email steve.button@gmail.com

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thurstonskatepark3