Fri, 20 Jan 2017
A BMX track in memory of a Thatcham teenager will finally be constructed at the Henwick Worthy sports ground this summer.
Tom Slater was killed in a traffic collision on the A339 in 2012.
His family and friends have since raised more than £30,000 in order to build the track.
The 17-year-old trainee mechanic loved to ride his bicycle at the Henwick field and a memorial bench was installed there in December 2012 – but plans for the memorial track have repeatedly stalled.
Proposals to place the track at the north of the site did not find favour with some residents owing to concerns over anti-social behaviour and noise.
Then, last year, proposals for a track at the south of the field were shelved owing to flooding.
West Berkshire Council, which owns the site, has now announced that a track will be placed next to the Wyvale Garden Centre and had been specifically chosen to ensure that residents were not disturbed.
Tom’s father Paul Slater said: “Thomas used to play in the Henwick Sports Ground all the time.
“He particularly loved the BMX humps in the north side of the field, where he and his friends use to jump their bicycles.
“Having raised £35,000 in memory of my son Tom, I am delighted that we can create a BMX track where youngsters can have fun in the fresh air.
“I can’t thank everyone who took part in the fundraiser enough for making this happen.
"We are all very pleased we can now build the BMX Track and leave a fitting memorial for a lovely special young man who is sorely missed by all."
The track has been funded through Mr Slater and Stuart Luker of property maintenance firm Ashmore Services, who raised more than £30,000 through a sponsored cycle ride made up of 29 riders from Henwick to Paris in 2013.
Generous sponsors included Jon Tissdale of CYO Seeds and the late Pete Sherratt.
Greenham Common Trust match-funded £5,170 and also awarded a grant of £4,318 for the track.
The Henwick field is run by the Henwick Worthy Joint Management Committee (JMC), made up of Thatcham town and district councillors.
Henwick JMC chairman Rob Denton-Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said: “We have listened carefully to residents’ concerns and based our decision on them.
“Mr Slater has made a tremendous effort and people have donated generously to provide younger people with an opportunity to take part in another recognised sport at this popular venue.”
Construction of the BMX Track will start in the summer.