FOUR boys who helped make a video in their school holidays to warn children of the dangers of playing on railways have been praised by the High Sheriff of Cheshire.
Simon Sherrard expressed his admiration when he visited Rudheath High School in full regalia to meet the boys involved - Jamie Parkes, Tom Clarke, Jonathon Meredith and Matthew Higgins - and present them each with a certificate of appreciation.
Their hard-hitting video demonstrates what can go wrong when children trespass on the line and bears chilling parallels with a real-life incident a few weeks ago when a 14-year-old boy from Castle had both his legs amputated following a train surfing accident.
Dean Hassall, of Hartford High School, is still recovering after falling beneath the wheels of a train of empty limestone hoppers while train surfing near North-wich railway station, not far from where parts of the video were shot at Easter.
In the video the boys are seen playing on the line and in a later shot mourning a tragedy which has befallen one of their friends. Although the exact nature of the incident is not shown, headlines including one referring to a boy having his legs amputated are shown.
The film has received praise from various organisations including the British Transport Police and been used at conferences highlighting initiatives to tackle crime on the railways.
The idea for the video grew out of discussions about the regeneration of Northwich railway station with John Kitchen, Mid Cheshire Rail Partnership Officer. It was funded by Connexions and supported by community workers and groups including Cheshire Dance.
Video maker Russell Armstrong worked with the four boys on the project and British Transport Police were among those who helped the boys find safe locations for some of the track shots.
Manchester United also joined in the praise by sending two young stars to meet the boys and see the video. Youth team members David Jones and Colin Heath took part in an afternoon assembly after the high sheriff's visit when the video was shown to the rest of the school.
They congratulated the boys before heading off for a kick-about with some of Rudheath's own football stars.