Feb 20 2013 Birkenhead News
Anguish at threat to Daniel’s shrine
THE family of a teenager killed in a bike crash said they were heartbroken after being told to remove a memorial to him from a Wirral park.
A hut in Upton Park, Moreton, has become a place for loved ones to pay tribute to Daniel Chong, 16, since his death last summer.
Flowers, messages, photographs, candles and lights were left at the shelter, where the teenager and his friends gathered to play football.
His mum Lynne, who visits every day, told the News she was contacted by Wirral council and asked to remove the items.
She said she was devastated to be told the only possible compromise would see her removing the tributes, rather than them being taken down by council staff.
Wirral councillor Ian Lewis has called on officials to “think again”.
Ms Chong said: “I am absolutely devastated to think that they would like me to take everything down. It breaks my heart.
“Daniel was there all the time. He and his friends used to meet there and just chat and relax or have a kick-about on the field.”
Talented sportsman Daniel, who lived with his family close to Upton Park, died after losing control of the off-road scrambler bike he was riding in Bromborough in August last year.
A keen fisherman and footballer, he was a former pupil of Wallasey School and hoped to become an electrical engineer.
Ms Chong, who has bought hundreds of solar-powered lights for the hut, said even people who did not know her son had drawn comfort from visiting.
She said: “I visit every day to light candles or turn the lights on. Dog walkers have said seeing it lit up makes them feel safer.”
Daniel’s friends raised £1,000 through a charity day last September, which will be used to buy a bench and memorial plaque for the park.
Leasowe and Moreton East Cllr Lewis said: “The friends and family of Daniel and many in the wider community do not believe now is the right time for the tributes to him to be removed. I have asked the council to think again and to take into account the feelings of the community on this sensitive issue.”
A spokesman for Wirral council said: “We understand the importance and significance of this memorial to Daniel’s family and friends, but we also have a duty to other users of the park to respond to their concerns.
“We are in discussions with the Chong family and other people in the community about providing a more permanent memorial to Daniel within the park.”