£38,000 raised in memory of skater Ralph, who died at 26

A charity set up in memory of a fun-loving skater who died suddenly in his 20s has raised more than £38,000 in less than a year.

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 4:55 am

The Live Like Ralph charity is described by the parents of Ralph Roberts as “the one positive thing” to come out of his shock death in January 2021.

Ralph, who worked as a graphic artist, was 26 when he died suddenly at his parents’ home in Lytham.

It was only after his shock death that it was discovered he had sarcoidosis, a rare throat condition which resulted in breathing complications.

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Ralph Roberts

The breathing problems caused Ralph to book a Covid-19 test and isolate until the result was known, but it came back negative, only for him to die from what a post-mortem examination revealed to be sarcoidosis shortly afterwards.

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Tribute weekend to skater Ralph - in pictures

They launched a JustGiving appeal to raise money to help others in Ralph’s memory and last summer, a graffiti weekender was held at Park View 4U in Lytham, where Ralph spent so much time as a youngster, to give the skate park there a distinctive revamp in his memory, including images of Ralph and the motto Live Like Ralph’.

As a first full year of promoting and fund-raising to support the skateboarding and creative communities looms, Neil and Diane are delighted at the near £40,000 generated so far, but feel it is only “a good start to what we want to build – literally in the case of new skateparks” and have ambitious plans for the future.

Ralph's parents Neil and Fiona Bayntun-Roberts

“It is an incredible amount and largely a reflection of how highly thought of Ralph was by everyone who knew him or worked with him,” said Neil.

“The initial response in the early months after his death in January on our JustGiving page www.livelikeralph.com/donate was phenomenal and we quickly raised over £20,000.

“This was followed by ‘Ralphfest’ in early September where we celebrated Ralph’s life with an art auction/exhibition, skateboarding competition and skate lessons for children at Park View4U, Lytham, Plant Skatepark, Blackpool and Moor Park, Preston.

“We also partied like Ralph and raised more funds at Dirty Blondes in Blackpool. We raised over £7,000 during the weekend.

A tribute to Ralph at Park View 4U, Lytham

“Whilst our focus has been on fundraising, Live Like Ralph also held a weekend at Park View4U to paint the skatepark with quality graffiti, art and pictorial tributes to Ralph.

“The artists gave their own time and efforts and helped younger people create their own works in the skatepark. Live Like Ralph has also donated £1,000 to the park to kick off a fund to build a new and better skatepark. We intend to make further donations in the future.

“Live Like Ralph has all sorts of plans for 2022. Our application to become a registered charity is now with the Charity Commission and we expect this to come through shortly. All the funds raised will go into the charity.

“We aim to repeat and build on the success of Ralphfest with a bigger and better event in early September 2022 to include art, skateboarding and music across a weekend.

“We will also be expanding our website www.livelikeralph.com to sell art and LLR merchandise, as well as publicising more forthcoming events.

”LLR is looking for a young person to help us develop our website and social media, estimate two or three hours voluntary work a week and is also working with a business in Lytham to create a pop-up art gallery at weekends with all profits going to the fund.

“We’d love to hear from any local artists willing to contribute pieces for us to display and sell. LLR will cover the cost of framing.”

Ralph worked for Vans Footwear who have agreed to support the charity with product and event support and we look forward to working with Vans to promote LLR locally and nationally.

“The profile of the our smiley deconstructed skateboard logo will also become much more visible locally with a roll out of collection tins in Lytham businesses and a promotion of smiley car air fresheners,” added Neil. “The logo was designed by Ralph and reflects his graphic design skills, love of skateboarding and fun loving attitude.”

Further ahead, a Lands End to John O’Groats 10 days bike challenge is planned for May 2023.

“We’re looking for experienced cyclists as core team members willing to do the whole distance and raise a minimum of £1,500 in sponsorship,” said Neil. “There will also be an option to do a one day stage (up to 100 miles) and raise a minimum of £200 in sponsorship.

“We’d love to hear from anyone who wants to support us and take on the challenge.”

Details of that of the fund-raising generally from Neil Roberts at www.livelikeralph.com

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