John Higgins, father of Paddy Higgins who died falling from a cliff in Newquay has urged more than 100 Newquay teenagers to learn from his son’s mistakes saying: “Don’t do this to your parents.” while he was visiting Treviglas Community College on Monday as part of the official launch of a new coast safety campaign.
Paddy Higgins was just 16 when he fell from the cliff above Tolcarne beach when he tried to find a friend who had gone missing. The group had been downing beer and shots of sambuca at a nearby restaurant earlier in the evening.
Treviglas pupils were shown a film, created by Treviglas media students for the Newquay Safe partnership, in which Mr Higgins breaks down while describing the moment police knocked on his door with the tragic news.
Speaking to a packed assembly hall 27 months on from his son’s death, Mr Higgins said: “You saw how upset I was in the video and I’m struggling now. You don’t want to do this to your parents. You really need to listen to the messages given to you today.
“Hopefully this will make Paddy’s death worth something.”
Mr Higgins said: “I hope this will sink in. The reason why I did my bit on the DVD was I wanted them to understand how upset this can make people. It makes it that much more real. I’m a teacher and speak at assemblies a lot. There are always pupils fidgeting, but not today. You could have heard a pin drop.”
Mr Higgins works at Brakenhale School in Berkshire, where he will present the film shortly. He said: “As far as I’m concerned, as long as I think I can make a difference, I will carry on,” he said.
“You never know if it’s been successful but the fact that there haven’t been any more deaths is testament to all the hard work that has been going on.
“It’s tough coming back to Newquay. You learn to live with grief but it brings it all back to the surface.
“But at the end of the day it’s not the town or the cliff that killed Paddy. Paddy killed Paddy.”
St Austell Brewery have funded 1,000 safety packs for pupils, at a cost of £2,500.
**archived November 2011**