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Town mourns teenage athlete and skatepark campaigner ‘Smiley Nyall’

PUBLISHED: 15:25 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:46 19 June 2018

Nyall Brown    Picture: Mearl Brown

Nyall Brown Picture: Mearl Brown

Archant

The people of Cromer are preparing to gather to remember a teenager whose ever-present smile, skatepark campaigning and sporting excellence made a lasting mark on the community.

Nyall Brown    Picture: Mearl BrownNyall Brown Picture: Mearl Brown

Nyall Brown, 19, passed away last month at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after battling a spell of mental ill health.

His death rocked his home town, where he lived all of his life, and on Wednesday Cromer Parish Church is expected to be full for his funeral.

Nyall Cye Brown, from Mayfield Drive, attended Seaview Playgroup, Suffield Park Nursery and Infants, Cromer Junior and Cromer High, before moving on to Easton and Otley College for a two-year public services course.

He was a hard worker, starting out at Roughton chip shop at age 13, doing spells of pheasant beating, and spending the last two-and-a-half years working at The Grove in Cromer. Most recently he was a head host.

Nyall Brown with his brother Kharn and mum Tracey    Picture: Mearl BrownNyall Brown with his brother Kharn and mum Tracey Picture: Mearl Brown

His dad Mearl said: “He loved his bike, football, his friends and his family. He also loved his dogs and he was gentle - he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Mr Brown and his wife Tracey, Nyall’s mum, said as a child he was always smiling and had the nickname “smiley Nyall”.

Nyall also loved to be outdoors and excelled at football, playing for Cromer Youth from age seven, Horsford under-16s and Norfolk under-15s. He was a gifted cross-country runner who shattered the Cromer Academy 1,500m record, ran for Norfolk for five years and qualified for the all-England cross-country finals.

But many people will remember Nyall the most for riding his beloved BMX - a passion that led him to join the committee that campaigned successfully for a skatepark on The Meadow.

Nyall Brown at a cross-country event. Photo: Mearl BrownNyall Brown at a cross-country event. Photo: Mearl Brown

Mr Brown said he started by “watching BMX on YouTube”, then bought a Mongoose with money saved from working at the chip shop. He said: “He rebuilt it and in the winter he spent hours in the garden trying to perfect his bunny hops.”

He used to be taken to Adrenaline Alley skatepark in Corby and he and his friends would catch the train to Norwich, then cycle to the skatepark at Eaton.

At the Cromer skatepark opening, Nyall was there doing 360 flips on his BMX. Mr Brown said he was a role model to the younger lads, who “really looked up to him”.

Mr Brown added that he wanted to urge people - and young men in particular - not to be afraid to talk about their mental health.

Nyall Brown at Cromer Skatepark Photo: Mearl BrownNyall Brown at Cromer Skatepark Photo: Mearl Brown

■ All are welcome to attend the funeral at 3pm, Cromer Crematorium at 4pm and a gathering from about 5pm at The Grove. People are asked to wear something green - Nyall’s favourite colour - with donations going to Mind and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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