Sonny is to spearhead DVD safety campaign

Sonny Wells
Sonny Wells
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A PARALYSED former soldier is to appear in a hard-hitting DVD aimed at stopping youngsters taking part in the deadly craze of tombstoning.

Sonny Wells, 23, of Middle Park Way, Leigh Park, will travel to Dover next week for the release of the DVD, which will be shown in schools to warn children of the dangers.

The DVD includes moving interviews with Sonny, describing how one moment of madness in 2008 has changed his life forever.

On a hot day, Sonny excitedly ran down South Parade Pier in Southsea and jumped 30ft into the sea.

But he landed in just 3ft of water, breaking his neck and paralysing him from the chest down.

Three years on, Sonny said he wanted to take part in the DVD as the message is still not getting out about the tragic price that can be paid for tombstoning, which happens every summer along Portsmouth’s coastline.

Sonny said: ‘I have just told them what I have told everyone else.

‘If you want to end up in a wheelchair, carry on jumping.

‘There’s no other way of saying it – it’s that simple.’

As well as the interview, the DVD includes a mock-up of a tombstoning tragedy, played out by young teenagers, and the subsequent rescue by police and coastguards.

The tombstoning DVD has been launched by the Port of Dover police and will initially be shown to schools in and around Dover, but it is planned to show the film to schools and organisations across the country.

The video comes as the statistics continue to make grim reading.

Last year tombstoning led to one death and nine serious injuries, the majority of them spinal. In 2009 five people died.

Sonny said: ‘You are not going to get through to the older people.

‘They think and do what I did. This is more for the young ones.

‘If you get in there while they are young and still in school, they might listen.

‘I just want to help people out. I think personally it will never stop – never in a million years.

‘But if I can save a few people, stop a few people from doing it, it’s worth it.’