Express & Star

Hundreds of pounds raised to support councillor's last wish to improve park

A fundraising drive has been launched to fulfil the dream of a councillor who suddenly died this week, by improving a park he loved dearly.

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Councillor Richard Body who died this week

Councillor Richard Body retained his Cradley and Wollescote seat last Thursday night but died on Tuesday this week, leaving family, friends and colleagues stunned.

In honour of Councillor Body residents have been donating to a fundraiser he set up the day before he died, to get £5,000 for the first 'pump track' in Stourbridge or Halesowen - a cycle, scooter and skateboard track for all ages.

Former Halesowen Councillor Donella Russell shared the JustGiving page and said: "Help raise money for this in Richard’s memory."

Caroleanne Lello posted: "Richard Body was a phenomenal man who never gave up, he fought hard for his area and all in it, even if they didn't agree with him he still wanted the best for them.

"His last post was for funding for local children to have better facilities at a local park, let's fund it for the children and for Richard."

Su Lowe added: "Let's make Richard's dream a reality."

The planned pump track in Cradley

The flag on Dudley Council House was flown at half mast in memory of Councillor Body on Wednesday.

Councillor Body set up the JustGiving page to raise funds for the children's pump track and within days about £900 has been pledged, with many people leaving a comment in honour of the Labour politician who was first elected to represent Cradley and Wollescote in 2004.

Fellow Cradley councillor Tim Crumpton urged people to donate towards Councillor Body's last public quest.

He said: "Richard was a fantastic councillor, always there to help, dedicated to Cradley and Wollescote which he has represented since it came into being.

"A man with tremendous passion and compassion. A husband, father and grandfather totally besotted with his family. A fighter for so many causes raising funds to help so many. A friend to help in times of need.

"Richard was all of these, by helping raise funds for the pump track we can leave the lasting legacy he deserves."

Councillor Body was chairman of the Friends of Homer Hill Park, was an avid runner and cyclist despite having two knee replacements and had planned to cycle 121 miles from Aberystwyth back to Cradley to raise money for the new facility.

Councillor Body's last public post said: "Please consider donating to this amazing kids pump track, the first of its kind for the Stourbridge and Halesowen area. Your donation will be used right here in Cradley and will benefit over future years, thousands of local children, providing a much needed children and youth community asset."