Sutton and Wallington freerunners find a new home at the civic offices

Parkour youngsters flip out at council offices

Parkour youngsters flip out at council offices

First published in Video by , Reporter

If you see a group of youngsters jumping head first off walls outside the civic offices don't fret. 

A team of freerunners from Sutton and Wallington have been honing their skills in the unlikely precincts of Sutton Council. 

Led by 19-year-old Steffan Williamson, young men aged between 17 and 27 have been using the council walls as their apparatus to jump off, land on, and flip over.

The idea of freerunning, or parkour, is learning how to navigate obstacles quickly and using the best method for getting passed them, based on the type of obstacle and the physical abilities of the individual. 

As a discipline, it has grown in popularity since it hit the mainstream in the 1990's and now 15,000 people a week in the UK are thought to take part.

Mr Williamson, a former Stanley Park High School student, said it is an art form, and has been ever since pioneering freerunner Sebastian Foucon broke into the public consciousness.

He said: "It is total freedom, I can walk out of my front door and start freerunning, I can do it wherever I like.  I'll see an obstacle, I'll get over it."

Mr Williamson said the discipline has changed his life.

"I had been arrested just before I started parkour in 2007, I was going down a slippery slope of crime, then I found freerunning and I managed to put all my energy into it.  Now I want to do it for the rest of my life."

Freerunners are often used for film stunts as the athletes can perform miraculous feats like back flipping over cars.

Mr Williamson said: "I would like to get into stunts or maybe teach freerunning.  I learned a lot from teachers at the Sutton School of Gymnastics, which helped with my parkour."

Although it looks like great fun, it is not without its pitfalls.

"I have fractured my elbow, my ankles five times and my thumb.  When it happens, you rest up, and it makes me more determined to conquer the obstacle next time."

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