By Jim Hollands
Despite some recent public comments claiming the Skate Park on The Salts is under used, the skaters and bikers seem to be having a whale of a time there.
Every time I have been past there are at least one or two youngsters having a go with either skateboards or BMX bikes. Sometimes there are up to twenty young people there, albeit most of the girls are watching rather than taking part.
I believe that this is an outlet that gives particular pleasure as it is the only pastime with such a large risk factor that is not supervised by adults. When my age group was developing back in the 1950’s we were able to wander the fields, climb trees and explore an area stretching five miles around the town. We climbed Camber Castle, swam in the Rother and the Tillingham, built boats and took them out on the river. Cycle tracks were constructed on wasteland and we tore our bikes to pieces, all without supervision. Some of the things we did then would have the local Health & Safety Officers tearing their hair out.
There is so much bad feeling towards young people today, many who should know better forget that these kids are Rye’s future. No doubt there were some parallels with old and young in the fifties but I look around me now and am proud of the achievements of most of my contemporaries. Every child brought up in this town, whether they attend Eaton, Harrow or the Thomas Peacocke, have the advantage of living in one of the best places in the world and it rubs off. I am delighted I was raised on Tilling Green and attended all the Rye Schools.
Lets give our youngsters more freedom, advise them against the many pitfalls that are out there and trust them to find a safe and happy way through their youth as we did in much poorer times.
If they want a further challenge, after they outgrow their BMX bikes, come along and do some real racing with the Rye & District Wheelers or join now.
“Rye’s Own” June 2008
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