HUNDREDS of youngsters showed two Mayors how to get their skates on when Portland’s new skate park was declared officially open.

Borough Mayor Paul Kimber and Portland Mayor David Thurston got to grips with skateboarding at the launch party of the £200,000 Portland Skate Park.

Around 150 young people from across Dorset attended the event, near the Masonic Car Park, on Saturday and were entertained with demonstrations, a disco, competitions and refreshments.

Councillor Kimber said: “We were getting expert advice from the young people on how to skateboard and how to do 360-degree turns – although I did chicken out on the 360.

“I’m glad to say I was able to balance and to learn all the safety precautions.

“I had a fantastic time and I was really surprised by how far the young people had come to try our skate park.

“We had groups of youngsters from Puddletown, Dorchester and Upwey as well.

“We had demonstrations by lads on rollerblades and I was absolutely astounded by how clever these young people are.”

Coun Kimber said he and Coun Thurston counted around 150 kids at the event of all ages and genders.

The skate park project was funded as part of the South West Regional Development Agency’s (RDA) sale agreement on Officers Field.

The RDA agreed with developer, Zero C, that provision and management of £500,000 from future RDA land sale receipts was to be invested into sporting and leisure facilities within 500 metres of the new housing development.

Portland Skate Park Users Group, worked with young skaters to design the new skate park and worked with Freestyle, the skate park developers to adapt these ideas cost effectively.

Coun Kimber added: “I would like to say a real big thanks to the South West RDA for what they’ve done there.

“My heart sank to the bottom of the ocean when we lost the old skate park, which was in the same place but had rusted away.

“Realistically we had to take that away because it was no longer safe but everybody had the same opinion, ‘We must rebuild it’, and we did.

“The partnership between the local authority, the RDA and the Officers Field organisation has been absolutely fantastic, the way they put it all together.

“It’s a fantastic asset.”

Several local organisations, including Osprey Quay, Portland Community Partnership and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s parks section, worked in partnership with the RDA to ensure the sale of Officers Field would directly benefit the local community.

A safety inspection by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) of the new Portland Skate Park has passed it with flying colours – it met or exceeded all the safety criteria.