More than 20 young skateboarders and BMX bikers were at the official opening of the skatepark at the Knab on Saturday afternoon.
They broke off from their stunts on the skatepark’s ramps and bowls to pose for photographs and hear the speeches from Shetland Skatepark Association treasurer Kaye Williamson and community worker June Porter.
Both had been instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, which had taken nearly 30 years and happened thanks to the association’s determination, despite many setbacks including public objections and difficulty in finding a site.
Ms Williamson said it had been “a long haul”, during which time she had sometimes thought she would never see a skatepark.
But, she said: “It’s a testament to the young people that they have stuck with it, and never lost their commitment.” She thanked the designers, Wheelscape, the funders, both external and local, and the skaters and bikers, who had raised £12,000.: “Really impressive when most of them were still at school,” she added.
A young committee of the enthusiasts themselves would now take the project forward, she said, to “keep the momentum going”.
Ms Porter, who had been involved in project since “day one”, brought her 1970s skateboard to the opening. She said that there had been many “highs and lows” in the effort to get a skatepark in Shetland, especially since the association had been formed in 2001.
“Many organisations would have given up,” she said, “but it’s testment to the association they kept going. Congratulations guys on overcoming the hurdles.
“There was a lot of suspicion about a skatepark because of the noise, but you guys kept going. It’s a celebration of what the community can achieve if it sets its mind to it.”
Skateboarder Matthew Henderson, 26, cut the ribbon. He said: “I’ve been involved since I was 13. I’m very proud after all these years. The skatepark is amazing, it’s got rails, banks, transitions, quarter pipes – it ticks all the boxes, everybody’s satisfied.” He is about to take over as treasurer.
BMX bikers James Irvine and Alex Nunn Thompson are now going to be the committee’s joint chairmen.
James said: “The park’s brilliant, really amazing, you can’t ask for more.”
Alex said: “The amount of people coming here is growing, it will encourage a lot of people.”
Fellow committee member, skater Rab Milne, emphasised the skatepark’s importance. He said: “It’s one of the reasons I moved back to Shetland. It’s really good for its size, it’s got all sorts of features.”
And skater Lewis Murray summed it up by saying: “It’s incredible, better than I ever thought it would be. It’s perfect.”