Mums want speeding cyclists barred from East End playpark after child breaks leg

PUBLISHED: 15:21 07 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:47 11 June 2016

Laura Chessis returns to Meath Gardens with little Grace in wheelchair after incident with a cyclist

Laura Chessis returns to Meath Gardens with little Grace in wheelchair after incident with a cyclist


A furious mum is starting a petition with neighbours to bar cyclists racing through a children’s play area in London’s East End after a rider crashed into her seven-year-old daughter and broke her leg.

Grace Chessis, aged 7Grace Chessis, aged 7

Laura Chessis wants the cyclist who injured little Grace to come forward after he walked off with his bike, following the incident in Bethnal Green’s Meath Gardens playpark by the Regent’s Canal.

“I would like that cyclist to acknowledge the serious injury he caused my little girl,” mother-of-two Laura told the East London Advertiser.

“I want him to know what he did—she was in hospital three days and had to go in for surgery and couldn’t eat or drink for 24 hours before her operation.”

Grace’s left leg and shinbone broke when the cyclist fell onto her as he careered onto the grass—in front of her horrified mum sitting on a park bench just a few feet away where she had been keeping watch on her.

Grace goes back to the park in her wheelchair after the incidentGrace goes back to the park in her wheelchair after the incident

“I was terrified and went into a state of shock,” the mother-of-two recalls. “The cyclist came from nowhere speeding past me on the grass where Grace was standing and went over the crossbars and fell on top of her. I was hysterical.”

The cyclist, thought to be in his 20s, who was wearing a black flatcap back-to-front and blue-tinted sunglasses, in T-shirt and shorts, had swerved to avoid a four-year-old child on the footpath and ended up hitting Grace.

He walked out of the park with his bike while the ambulance crew were treating Grace before taken her to hospital.

“A witnesses saw him on a mobile phone looking backwards while he was racing along the path,” Laura added.

Grace's pals welcome her back to Meath Gardens after two weeksGrace's pals welcome her back to Meath Gardens after two weeks

The Advertiser found several cyclists tearing through the play area in the few short minutes we interviewed Laura—only one slowed down and politely asked her if he could get past. One skateboarder racing through shouted and swore abuse at Laura, then we challenged a motorcyclist who did turn back.

Grace was brought back to the playpark in her wheelchair yesterday afternoon to meet up with her chums again, two weeks after her emergency surgery at the Royal London Hospital following the incident on May 25. She showed them her leg which will be in plaster another six weeks.

But the bright youngster really wanted to get back to school. So she returned to Bethnal Green’s Bonner Primary this-morning to join her class—in her wheelchair.

Now Laura and her neighbours in Meath Crescent, next to Meath Gardens, want the play area protected with safety barriers and have cyclists barred from the path that runs just a few feet from the play equipment.

They are starting a petition urging the mayor and Tower Hamlets Council to install safety measures.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser