When 16yr old Matt took his own life in 2013, fellow skater Charlie Norton decided to start Tappy Jam, an annual memorial skateboarding meet up in Farnborough to raise awareness of mental health, suicide and to say that it’s ok for young men to discuss how they are feeling 🚲💙
In 2016, Eagle Radio visited Farnborough Skatepark to catch up with the friends and family of Charlie Norton.
Charlie has been a regular at the skate park all his life and now runs an annual skateboarding meet up in the memory of his friend Matt, who passed away in 2013.
“Matt unfortunately took his own life, unbeknownst to anybody that there was really a problem of that scale.”
“I know Matt used to go to the park all the time, if you didn't know where Matt was that's where he'd be. They used to have these sorts of jams but it wasn't for any particular reason.”
Charlie now arranges an annual Tappy Jam in Matt’s honour around his birthday where young people interested in skating and BMX from Hampshire and beyond join together to raise money and awareness of men’s mental health.
“I think he just felt had that compulsion that someone had to do something and that was Charlie and that's what he wanted to do.”
“Charlie felt it should be marked in some way and remembered and he just got this idea that he would do something that Matt would have enjoyed as well.”
Each year the Tappy Jam goes from strength to strength and Charlie has several notable companies on board as sponsors including Rockstar and Converse.
“The Tappy Jam now has grown there must have been perhaps 200-300 people there. People from all over the place came this year, like people we didn't even think would.”
“Charlie's got a lot of sponsors on board now who provide prizes. You had a barbecue, they had a barber doing haircuts for charity.”
“Everybody gets something, even the little kids, down to the stickers on the table are given away free. It's just unbelievable how much money he has been able to achieve this year.”
Money raised at the event goes to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and the upkeep of Farnborough Skate Park. In 2018, the Tappy Jam raised £4,260 for CALM.
“There's a lot of like stereotypes around the skatepark and he's just proven that the community can come together from the beginning even when it was so small.”
“It's got it out in the open so people are more aware that these things go on and they're always there for each other”
Charlie recently won a Local Heroes Award presented by Surrey and Hampshire’s local radio station Eagle Radio for his work organising the Tappy Jam. The above documentary was made my Greer Riddell for Eagle Radio to celebrate Charlie’s achievements.
How do you talk to your friends about their mental health? Let me know in the comments 🚲👇🏻
🏆 Farnborough students Stacey Burrows and Lucy Pygott were tragically killed in 2016 have both received posthumous awards.
🚑 After a 4yr old girl stopped breathing, Headteacher Mr James from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary ultimately saved her life.
🏆 How one Guildford teacher went out of her way to help a child perform at the school talent show.