A lasting memorial for Ashley

A lasting memorial for Ashley

630
Ashley Graham’s father Wayne, sister Zoe and mother Kathleen gathered at Byford Skate Park to remember him last weekend. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A local family said they would be forever grateful to a group of people who have helped keep their late son’s memory alive.

Ashley Graham was just 16-years-old when he died in a fire at his father’s Forrestdale property on August 11 2018.

A year and a half on, his parents Kathleen and Wayne were ecstatic to learn that a group of his friends had been busy working away in the background to design and paint an artistic mural at his favourite stomping ground, the Byford Skate Park.

The family said they always knew they wanted to do something public to remember him but the tragedy was still too raw to delve into the planning of such a memorial.

“We wanted it to be named the Ashley Graham Skate Park or Byford Ashley Skate Park if it needed to have a geographical inclusion,” they said.

“He was there all the time while it was being built saying ‘is it finished yet? Have they finished it yet?

“His life was school, work, skate park, home and repeat.

Ashley Graham bought this scooter just weeks before he was killed in a house fire in August 2018.

“His sister had also tried to get a little memorial there, like a bench seat with his name on it.

“She started to get that going but then you have to put proposals and presentations into the shire and she said it was too much for her and it was a bit too much for us as well.”

After several months of hard work behind the scenes, a group of friends were successful in receiving a grant of more than $2100 from DrugAware WA to bring the mural at Byford Skate Park to a reality.

It was painted last Saturday with help from local artist Dan Duggan.

Mr Graham said he was excited to meet with the people who organised it as he described them as “Ashley’s type of people”.

“His friends are pretty faithful to Ashley to still do these types of things,” he said.

“We want to thank the guys that have organised it all and we really appreciate it… it means a lot.”

A memorial has been set up at his father’s Forrestdale property to remember Ashley Graham.

The family have also set up a memorial at their Forrestdale property, which Mr Graham said is open to anyone who would like to come and remember Ashley.

“We put it there for people to put flowers and remember him,” he said.

“His mates come over and camp here on occasions like his birthday.

“For me I don’t go past the skate park much anymore because it is tough, as I used to be there every single day, either at school, the park or picking him up from his job.

“You should never whinge about picking up the kids, because what we would do to pick him up now.”