A woman who lost her young son in a tragic accident is aiming to raise more than £200,000 to build a community bike track in his memory.
Kerrie Rimmer, 44, said she has been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support in her bid to build a lasting legacy for the four-year-old, who had an “obsession of all things with wheels”.
Max Rimmer-Chambers died in May 2017, when a fireplace surround fell on him.
Hundreds of people attended his funeral and donated money, which inspired his family to give back to their community in Openshaw, Manchester.
Ms Rimmer’s campaign to build a community-led cycle track, called Max Trax, will commemorate her “outgoing and bubbly” son, who was her “absolute world”.
She told the PA news agency: “I just thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could put this money back into the community, into a project that Max would love and that would benefit all children?'”
The campaign started small but, after an outpouring of support from neighbours, Manchester City Council and the charity Step Up, the family decided to expand it.
The proposed project in Delamere Park, opposite the family’s home, will feature a new cycle track for all ages, educational programmes and even a community centre.
The plans will also see a disused building within the park transformed into a “community hub” that will run workshops to teach new skills and provide meals for struggling families.
Ms Rimmer said: “When people are using the bike track there will be a place for them to have something to eat in school holidays, run workshops, and we can actually feed the children for free as well, because there’s so many children that go without food.”
A “repair shop” will offer to recycle old bikes to donate to children from low-income families, alongside educational workshops to teach children new skills to further their hobbies or even future careers.
Ms Rimmer said her son would “absolutely love” the campaign and added that “he would be on top of the world” to see the positive impact he has made within his community.
“I can picture him even now – he would be out there fundraising and inviting all his friends,” she said.
“Even people that didn’t know Max now talk about him and say to me ‘I can just picture his bubbly, outgoing personality’, and it’s just a joy to hear.”
Despite Ms Rimmer kicking off her fundraising effort at the beginning of the first UK lockdown, the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic only motivated her further.
“Through the pandemic people have got to use the park so much more,” she said.
“You see more people and families out and about and, if we can encourage them into the park and to stay in the park, it will help with health and wellbeing and bring the children out from behind TV and computer screens.”
To complete Max Trax, the campaign will need around £200,000, which the team has split into three fundraising stages.
The first goal of £60,000 has been met and will go towards the first part of the bike track.
Nicole Hope, from the Step Up charity, told PA: “Everybody knows about Max Trax and there’s so much love (and) support for what Kerrie’s doing in the community.
“There’s a few hurdles in the way still, but the amount of energy and momentum that’s gone behind the crowdfunder, and with Kerrie’s passion and determination, we are sure that it’s going to happen.”
– For more information on the Max Trax campaign, visit https://donorbox.org/maxtrax-openshaw.