MEMORIAL benches have been put in place at two Wearside parks as a poignant tribute to a popular skateboarder.
Family and friends raised cash for the benches to be installed at the skate parks in memory of Shane Sloan, who died a year ago after his car collided with a lamppost.
The 18-year-old had passed his test just five weeks before the accident, which an inquest revealed was caused after the car tyre picked up a screw, at a corner on Mount Pleasant Road, leading from the Washington Highway.
Since then, his family and friends have been fund-raising so a lasting tribute can be put in place at the skate parks he loved – at Princess Anne Park in Washington and Herrington Country Park.
Before the anniversary of his death on Friday, the benches were installed, providing the family with a special place to remember Shane.
They also have plans to put on a skating and BMX competition in his memory in July, with plans being discussed with the council this month.
His mum Caron Heatherington, of Penshaw, said: “They’re lovely, absolutely beautiful.
“We’re so pleased that they’re there and that the tournament is going ahead as it’s important for us to keep our Shane’s name alive and memory going the best we can.
“Shane absolutely loved skateboarding and was really popular at the parks so the tournament is a fantastic tribute to him.
“We hope to make it annual and there will be a trophy in his name given to the best skater and the best BMX rider.”
The family has also vowed to continue its fight to have the speed limit cut from 60mph to 30mph on the road where Shane was killed.
They have 2,500 signatures but need to hit 5,000 before the Government will look at it.
“It’s really important that the speed is changed,” Mrs Heatherington, 47, said.
“I know Shane wasn’t speeding because it was his tyres that caused it but if the speed hadn’t been 60mph he may never have had the accident and might be here now.
“I often drive along the road to go and lay flowers where Shane died and it really is a bad bend. It’s really dangerous and something needs to be done.”
The promising former Biddick School Pupil was gearing up to graduate from City of Sunderland College’s Hylton Road campus where he had been studying mechanics to go and work at his step-dad Dave’s Bishop Auckland garage, which he one day hoped to run.
At his funeral, hundreds of friends attended to bid a fond farewell to the popular teen.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support we’ve had and by how popular Shane was. It’s been brilliant,” Mrs Heatherington said.
“Everybody has been fantastic and we couldn’t have done it without them. We’d like to thank everyone who has helped us.”
To sign the petition, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/shorty.