Lytham community park tribute urges skaters to 'Live Like Ralph'
Skate ramps at a Lytham park have been given a distinctive revamp in memory of a renowned skater who first developed his abilities at the venue.
Park View 4U hosted a massive community effort to remember Ralph Roberts, who died aged just 26 in January.
A group of talented graffiti artists joined members of the local skating community for the project co-ordinated by Park View 4U in conjunction with Live Like Ralph, a charity set up in Ralph’s memory by his parents Neil and Fiona Bayntun-Roberts.
Park View park ranger Julie Norman said: “The aim of the Live Like Ralph charity is to encourage young skaters and to improve skate parks.
“Originally plans were to create one or two images but the idea developed into an incredible two-day community graffiti art project.”
Ralph was a former pupil of St Bede’s High School who went on to be based in London after gaining a top qualification in art and was visiting his parents when he was taken ill.
It was only after his shock death that it was discovered he had a sarcoidosis, a rare throat condition which resulted in breathing complications.
The breathing problems caused Ralph to book a Covid-19 test and immediately isolate until the result was known, but it came back negative, only for him to die from what a post-mortem examination revealed to be sarcoidosis shortly afterwards.
His parents said he was renowned among family and friends for his smile and how much he cared about others.
Ralph’s dad Neil, from Lytham, said: “The graffiti weekend collaboration with Park View 4U was the first event Live Like Ralph have contributed to and it encompassed everything we want to achieve with the charity. We dramatically improved the environment of the skate park for everyone, had fun helping kids enjoy both art and skateboarding and most importantly put smiles on faces.
“Ralph would have approved. Skating, art and smiling – he was good at all three.
“This is the positive legacy we will continue to promote across skate parks nationally and we are so glad we started at Ralph’s original home park in Lytham. Thanks to everyone involved.”
Julie Norman added: “In 2019, Park View 4U co-ordinated a youth exchange project for five local skateboarders to visit Berlin to engage with workshops involving skateboarding, graffiti art and music.
“Dominic Carlyle and James Panter took part in the exchange and were keen to help to redesign the skate park in a fitting tribute to Ralph.
“The graffiti art community event filled a weekend with artists creating work on the Saturday and then running workshops to help others learn how to produce spray art on the Sunday.
“The results are unbelievable, we are extremely grateful to everyone involved. Dom Carlyle did a fantastic job of organising the two days and produced some amazing artwork.
“Jess Winter who was one of Ralph’s closest friends and an incredible skater, produced some beautiful artwork using the Live Like Ralph logo as well as spending time teaching participants to paint and to skate.
“Also James Panter, who represented Park View 4U in Berlin has produced a stunning portrait of Ralph on the ramps, which his family are delighted at.
“We are so pleased that Ralph’s family and friends all had the opportunity to take part in creating this tribute and to our community for helping us to revitalise the skate park.
“The feedback from visitors to the park about the new artwork has been incredible.
“The aim of both charities is to continue to encourage young people to take up skating and a skate event in planned at Park View on September 4.”
Neil is offering two tickets for the WonderHall music event at Lytham Hall next month, donated by organisers Cuffe and Taylor, to the highest bidder in aid of the Live Like Ralph charity. Bids can be made on the website www.livelikeralph.com
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