Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 18:25 UK

Father in cliff death safety plea

Photo of Paddy Higgins surrounded by friends on the night he died
The father of Paddy Higgins backs a Boycott Newquay campaign

The father of a teenager who died when he fell off a cliff in Newquay is planning to lobby the prime minister for tighter controls in the resort.

John Higgins, from Berkshire, believes the authorities could have done more to prevent his 16-year-old son's death.

He has submitted a petition to the Number 10 website.

Opponents said it is unfair to single out Newquay and that 16-year-olds should not be allowed to go away on holiday unsupervised.

Mr Higgins's son, Paddy, died in Newquay on 6 July after falling down cliffs above Tolcarne Beach.

Paddy had been in the resort with nine friends who had been drinking beer and spirits in a restaurant.

After they left, one of them went missing and Paddy went after him. That was the last time his friends saw him alive.

Mr Higgins said he gave Paddy permission to go because he his elder step-brother had visited the resort three years ago.

He said: "Paddy was just old enough to go away. It's part of growing up".

He told BBC News he felt some responsibility for the situation, but added other parties, including Paddy, the local council and businesses should also share it.

He said: "I feel some responsibility.

"But Newquay is targeting the youth market and it is not putting in place sufficient facilities to make sure youngsters are safe.

"Paddy should not have been able to buy alcohol.

"The businesses are not taking sufficient responsibility."

He wants Newquay to stop advertising itself as a party place for teenagers and that cliff access points should be fenced off at night.

He said: "There needs to be shared responsibility and something done to make sure that this doesn't happen again".

He is backing a Facebook page called Boycott Newquay which calls for parents to stop sending their children to the resort until changes are made.

Newquay
Many in Newquay argue it has enough safety measures in place

Another Facebook page, Don't Boycott Newquay, supported by Cornish mother-of-five Zoe Pellow, has hit back.

Ms Pellow, 31, said: "If you send a teenager anywhere on holiday unsupervised they are going to be able to get hold of alcohol.

"It doesn't matter whether it's Newquay or Newcastle, the story will be the same.

"Accidents happen all over the UK, it just so happens we have had a spate of accidents.

"But we cannot fence off all the cliffs in Cornwall. That's ridiculous."

She added: "There's no way I would send a 16-year-old away unsupervised, whether it was the Lake District, Newquay, or anywhere else because I do not believe a 16-year-old is responsible enough."

Local authorities say all shops are banned from selling alcohol to under 25s without ID.

They have also said youth workers patrol at night to offer a helping hand and buses are on hand to shuttle party goers to and from campsites.



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SEE ALSO
How 'coast of dreams' turned sour
10 Jul 09 |  Cornwall
Cliff death sparks safety warning
09 Jul 09 |  England
Tributes paid to cliff death boy
08 Jul 09 |  Berkshire
Warning after teenage cliff falls
07 Jul 09 |  Cornwall
Rugby player, 18, dies on holiday
30 Jun 09 |  England

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