Grieving Parent Brands Newquay Unsafe
From BBC News 09/07/09:
Parents have urged council chiefs to make a Cornwall resort safer for young revellers after a Berkshire student fell to his death from a cliff.
Paddy Higgins, 16, a pupil at Forest School near Wokingham, was in Newquay celebrating the end of his GCSE exams.
He was declared dead on Tolcarne beach after apparently falling from cliffs.
His step-mother Shireen Higgins has called for parents to boycott the town until action is taken. But the mayor said Newquay ensures children's safety.
..."Newquay is not a safe place for teenagers to go to celebrate their freedom after their exams, the cliffs are too high and too unfenced.
"They are encouraged to party hard and stay out late."
But a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Newquay is a safe place as long as you come here with a degree of common sense and a degree of responsibility.
"Two thousand to 3,000 under-18-year-olds visit [the town], however, we have got operation Exodus, which is set up specifically to manage this."
...Paddy was the second teenager to die in a cliff fall in the resort in a week.
On 28 June, the body of 18-year-old Andrew Curwell, from Saddleworth in Greater Manchester, was found at the foot of cliffs at Newquay's Great Western Beach.
He was holidaying with friends to celebrate the end of his A-level exams when he fell.
As tragic as this story is, it surely can’t be said that Newquay’s cliffs are any more dangerous than countless other coastal areas. Cliffs are typically high, dangerous and yes, unfenced. With that being the case, they don’t mix well with alcohol, questionable judgement and young people looking to party hard. Everyone knows the kind of horseplay that can ensue when students flock together.
Coming as I do from the coast of Cornwall, I’ve grown up constantly within earshot of ‘grokos’ clamouring for safety fences around local harbours and the like. Such measures are supposed solutions to problems which may not exist – or serve as a heavy-handed response at best. Fencing off so-called dangerous areas around the Cornish coast is an entirely impractical exercise - not to mention one that is huge in scope. Working fishing villages or cliff paths are not play-areas for tourists and should never be treated as such and the arrival of fences would inevitably impinge on the unspoilt nature of the place – something which attracts the majority of tourists down there in the first place.
It’s inevitable that grieving parents are looking for someone to blame here but sadly the spokesman quoted in the article was bang-on in his assessment of Newquay’s safety. The message to be sent out from this shouldn’t be that cliffs are high and dangerous – that goes without saying. Rather, the double tragedy should serve as a chilling reminder that being young and on the lookout for a good time doesn’t relieve people of the need to act responsibly wherever they are.