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‘There’s nothing in Cromer for the children’: dying Verity to give £18,000 gift to Cromer Skatepark

Verity and Hillel Fridman.

Verity and Hillel Fridman.

Archant

A lady who is dying from cancer has vowed to leave a legacy of hope for the young people in her home town by giving a five-figure gift towards a skatepark.

Verity Fridman, 61, will give a total of £18,000 towards the Cromer scheme, which has been talked about and campaigned for since the 1980s.

Mrs Fridman, who moved to Cromer with her husband Hillel, 60, from London three years ago, said she was determined to “give something back” to the young people of the town.

She said: “I have a son, so I’m well aware how much exercise boys particularly need between the age of nine and 15.

“When I came up to Cromer I always had in my thoughts to try to do something for that age group. My husband had a very established and loved health food shop in London, and we wanted to downsize.”

She added: “There’s nothing in Cromer for the children. The town is over-balanced with older people and there are not enough young people.

“There’s not enough for the boys and girls to do. It’s essential to keep them out of trouble, keep them interested and give them somewhere to go which is their own.

“The skatepark is a marvellous way of achieving that. The older boys help the younger boys and have developed a sense of community.”

The donation, which will cover about 10pc of the projected cost of the project, has been warmly welcomed by “astonished” skatepark chairman Edward Land, who thanked Mr and Mrs Fridman.

He said: “When Hillel gave us the news at a recent committee meeting we were all very much stunned at this generous contribution. If anything this money has brought fresh hope in realising that having a skatepark here in Cromer is becoming a reality and is not as far off as we thought.

“With this money we have the means to start moving in the right direction together with applying for grants. We are so thankful to Verity and Hillel and our thoughts and prayers are with Verity at this time.”

Mrs Fridman said she would give £8,000 when she died, and her children - Rebecca and Hugo - would each give a further £5,000 when planning permission was granted for a skatepark.

That could happen in the next few weeks, as a revised application for a second location on The Meadow was submitted last week.

The plans stalled earlier this year, when North Norfolk District Council’s development committee suggested the skatepark should go on a sloped Meadow site, rather than the planned flat location near the children’s play area.

Youngsters are currently using their skateboards, BMX cycles and scooters at a makeshift skatepark at the former Kiddies’ Corner at North Lodge Park, with the permission of NNDC.

Mrs Fridman has helped young people before.

In 2003, Mr and Mrs Fridman visited Kenya, where they were shocked by the conditions in one village, with children having one pencil to share between 11 of them.

They set about fundraising, with Mrs Fridman organising concerts at her London home. From nothing, there is now an established school with five classrooms.

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