Essex teen car crash victim inspires graffiti solution

A TRAGIC death has sparked an idea to solve a graffiti problem at a popular Great Dunmow skatepark.

Teenage skateboarder Jack Brennan, from Dunmow, died following a car crash in Lincolnshire two weeks ago.

Since then, Dunmow’s Recreation Ground skatepark has been turned into a shrine to the 16-year-old former Helen Romanes School pupil, while hundreds of friends have joined a Facebook page to pay their respects.

But it’s the offline tributes that have raised the debate on how to deal with graffiti. Flowers have been laid next to the skate ramps and “RIP Jack” has been sprayed on as friends and fellow skaters try to deal with the loss.

Dunmow Town Council is responsible for the upkeep of the park and in the past few weeks it was given a facelift because graffiti had become a real problem.

But because the current spate of spray paint has such a poignant meaning the council has agreed to let the writing stay for a while.

Deputy town clerk David Green said a lasting memorial would be more suitable and proposed putting up a special graffiti wall for that purpose.

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He said: “We will have to re-paint the skate park at some point but we understand why it has happened and we had already been made aware of it.

“It would be a good idea if the council created a wall for young graffiti artists or professional artists so they could have a place to do it.”

The idea would have to go to before the town council to be discussed, but is a real possibility.

Skaters think it is a good idea although a number were unhappy that the current writing will have to be removed. All of them described Jack as a “good guy”.

The fatal crash involved Jack’s 39-year-old mother and two other passengers. They survived when her Citroen plunged into a water-filled ditch near Stickney but Jack died in hospital despite PC Hakes pulling him from the wreckage.

Lincolnshire Police Inspector Phil Clark said: “He was a credit to the force and it is tragic that, despite his gallant actions, the young man could not be resuscitated”.

Comments on Facebook described Jack as “a favourite pupil” and a “true friend”.

His funeral will be on Friday September 3 at St Mary’s Church, Great Dunmow from 3.30pm. Afterwards, a number of balloons are set to be released from Parsonage Downs.

His family said: “One day we will remember not just that he passed but that he lived and that his life gave us memories too beautiful to forget.”