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'If we save one person it will be worthwhile' - skate shop owner rolls out safety campaign

PUBLISHED: 11:57 18 July 2018

Grant Phillips, owner of Sk8box in Lowestoft, is promoting the importance of wearing safety equipment when skating. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Grant Phillips, owner of Sk8box in Lowestoft, is promoting the importance of wearing safety equipment when skating. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

A skate shop owner is rolling out a campaign to encourage more young people to don safety gear.

The Sk8box store in Lowestoft. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe Sk8box store in Lowestoft. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Grant Phillips, who runs Sk8box in Lowestoft, created ‘Ride Safe’ after a spate of recent accidents saw some of his customers seriously injured while skating.

Among those to run in to trouble was 10-year-old Ethan Knights, who suffered a head injury following a fall and was placed in intensive care. Ethan thankfully made a full recovery, but wearing a helmet could have prevented such a distressing episode.

With Mr Phillips deciding enough is enough, he is determined to get youngsters learning from the mistakes of others and riding more responsibly.

“Ride Safe is all about promoting all forms safe riding, but especially wearing a helmet because recovering from a head injury is not always possible,” he said. “It’s the last thing we say to everybody before they leave the shop.”

Grant Phillips, owner of Sk8box in Lowestoft, is promoting the importance of wearing safety equipment when skating. Picture: Sonya DuncanGrant Phillips, owner of Sk8box in Lowestoft, is promoting the importance of wearing safety equipment when skating. Picture: Sonya Duncan

“The campaign has been spurred on by a series of local incidents, including Ethan’s accident, and some people are not so lucky.

“It’s not just about riding scooters, which is what we specialise in; it’s about cycling, skateboarding - anything. If we can just save one person, then this campaign will all be worthwhile.”

With the scheme still in its youth, Mr Phillips is committed to spread the word as afar and wide as possible. The store is campaigning on its social media channels, has posters in the shop windows and is also attempting to get local schools on board.

However, Mr Phillips says there still exists a reluctance to wear helmets and believes the influence of star riders is at the root of the problem.

“Ultimately the best way for people to promote safety is to wear a helmet themselves and to persuade others to do the same,” he added. “If you see someone else at the skate park or out on a ride who isn’t wearing a helmet or pads, ask them why and encourage them.

“We sponsor quite a few riders but we wouldn’t support anyone who chooses not to wear safety gear. We’re very clear about that from the start and we provide them with helmets and knee pads as a bare minimum.

“These riders are representing Sk8box in their videos, but they’re also representing safe riding. Kids look up to these riders as heroes and they’re far more prone to accidents - just lead by example.”

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