Emotional skatepark tribute to Jamie,13

Published on: 28 Jul 2017

THE FATHER of a teenager who was killed in a light aircraft crash has marked the 10th anniversary of his death with a poignant balloon launch.

Gordon Clapp organised the event to commemorate the life of his son Jamie who died on July 8, 2007.

Family and friends climbed on top of ramps at the Jamie Clapp Memorial Skatepark in Emersons Green to release 10 colourful balloons.

Attached to each balloon was a special message to Jamie, who was a student at Mangotsfield School and a huge skateboard fan.

Mr Clapp said it had been a very emotional day.

"It was very sad. Five of Jamie's friends released balloons as well as family members. 

"There were between 20 and 30 people there and I'd like to thank them all for coming to pay tribute to Jamie.

"Afterwards I bought his friends a can of beer each - they're all big boys now.

"Some people might think I'm daft but I wrote a message to Jamie and, as he's up there with God, I'm hoping he would have got it. That helps a bit."

In a further tribute, on July 26, what would have been Jamie's 24th birthday, Mr Clapp arranged for the Union Jack
flag at Cossham Hospital to be raised.

A birthday message to Jamie was displayed on the flagpole display board in the main reception so visitors would know the reason for the raising of the flag.

Mr Clapp said: "The 10 years have gone by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday it happened. I think of Jamie all the time. I have a photograph of him by the side of my bed and kiss it every morning when I wake up and every evening before I go to sleep.

"Jamie was a brilliant son and we did everything together. He was very popular and had some very good friends who haven't forgotten him. He was very well loved by everyone.

"I can't even begin to tell you how much I still miss him."

Jamie was just 13 when he died after the light aircraft he was travelling in crashed into a field in Clutton and burst into flames.

An inquest into Jamie's death heard that the pilot, 34-year-old Robert Gunter, from Downend, had taken the drug ecstasy before the flight.

Mr Clapp was then told the insurance company would not pay out because Mr Gunter was under the influence of drugs which had invalidated any claim.

Following Jamie's death, Mr Clapp set about raising money to build a skateboard park in memory of his son.

After successfully fundraising £100,000, the Jamie Clapp Memorial Skatepark in Emersons Green opened in 2011.

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