A go-kart racing academy for kids is the next step in plans to keep alive the memory of a much-loved Lancaster boy.
Campaigners are trying to raise £30,000 to set up the facility in tribute to 12 year-old Leon Hoyle who died in a fall at an empty Lancaster warehouse in August.
The ‘Leon Hoyle Karting Academy’ will be a separate go-kart track for children in a disused building close to the new Lune KRT racing centre which opened at the weekend.
Lune KRT was set up in the same Lune Industrial Estate building where Leon died.
Leon’s family are backing the plans as are Marsh Community Centre where the Central Lancaster High pupil was a regular visitor.
Hundreds of people – including Leon’s dad Brian and sister Lily - took part in the opening ‘test weekend’ from September 28 to October 1.
Mr Hoyle has also now joined the team of staff at Lune KRT.
Marc Oliver from Lune KRT said he’d bought Leon’s sister a quad bike to use at the Europa Way-based centre and she’s “not been away from the track since”.
Mr Oliver also said he was “overwhelmed” by the response of the public to the test weekend.
As revealed in the Guardian two weeks ago, Lune KRT has created a series of tributes to Leon inside the building.
These include his name written out in tyres, a memorial bench where his family can come and pay their respects, and reserving the actual room where he fell as a special place in his memory.
Mr Oliver also offered to donate five per cent of his total turnover for the three-year term of his lease to a charity of Leon’s parents’ choosing or to the family themselves.
Leon’s mum Jenna Wilcock has produced two plaques for the centre, which says ‘A Loving Tribute to Leon Hoyle, Age 12, 7th August 2017, Always on our minds, forever in our hearts’.
Jenna told the Guardian she thought Lune KRT’s efforts had been “absolutely lovely”.
“Everybody has been so amazing,” she said.
“I want Leon’s friends to be able to enjoy themselves there and think of him.”
A family fun day held at Lune KRT on Sunday raised £1,700 towards the new academy.
Mr Oliver said the idea of the academy is to give children something to do to keep them safe and off the streets.
The £30,000 would be used to buy fleets of go-karts and quad bikes for the go-karting school, make the unit weatherproof and install utilities.
Mr Oliver intends to set up a crowdfunding page and meet with Lancaster City Council and the community centre to discuss his plans.
He said a not-for-profit community company is also being set up which Jenna and Brian would have a share in.
Mr Oliver said this was to ensure that if Lune KRT or its buildings were ever to close down, money from the sale of assets would go to the family.
Leon, 12, died after he fell through a corrugated roof panel of the then-disused warehouse while out playing with friends.