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The Story

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One summer’s evening Ricky, his younger brother Jamie, Chantel and Bryan go to a house party.

Some alcohol is being passed around but the neighbours haven’t complained about the noise - it’s just friends hanging out, listening to music and talking.

Ricky drove to the house, taking Jamie with him and picking up Bryan and Chantel on the way. He has a few beers but isn’t really drunk. Jamie has nothing to drink and enjoys being part of the older crowd.

Ricky and Chantel are too nervous to ask each other out, but she’s made an effort to look really nice and has arranged for her cousin to look after her grandma. She doesn’t drink at all.

Bryan misses his last bus home and asks Ricky for a lift. Ricky refuses saying he’s leaving the car as he’s been drinking, but eventually gives in as he doesn’t want Chantel to think he isn’t ‘man enough’ to drive.

It’s a nice summer evening and it’s just turned dark. Chantel gets in the front with Ricky, but doesn’t use her seatbelt as it would spoil her new top. Jamie sits behind Ricky in the back and Bryan sits behind Chantel.

The route they take is familiar to Ricky. He doesn’t feel drunk, but his driving has been affected – although he doesn’t realise it.

Ricky misjudges a corner, loses control and the car spins, hitting a lorry coming the other way.

Jamie is killed instantly and Chantel is thrown through the windscreen. Ricky has a few scratches from the air bag and seatbelt and Bryan suffers a broken collarbone, but it’s not serious.

Chantel suffers a broken spine and spends several months in hospital. She eventually learns to use a wheelchair, but can’t walk again.

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The characters

Ricky is 17.
He passed his driving test about six months ago and his parents bought him a Peugeot 206. Popular, sensible and mature, Ricky plays rugby for his school and the local team. He’s also the head boy in the Sixth Form. Not over-confident or cheeky, Ricky is well respected by his parents, friends and teachers.

Bryan is 17.
A long-time friend of Ricky, Bryan is a bit irresponsible. He can be a bit of a pain, likes to be the centre of attention and is a bit of a daredevil. His teachers think he’s a bit immature for his age, but he’s loved by his parents and nine-year-old sister. Bryan can be a bit jealous of Ricky as he sees him as being successful and grown-up. He’s also a bit envious that Ricky’s passed his driving test.

Chantel is 17.
Bubbly and outgoing, she does well at school. Chantel’s always immaculately dressed and has fancied Ricky for ages. He feels the same but they’ve both been too shy to ask each other out. Chantel’s parents separated when she was young and Chantel helps to care for her grandmother. Because of this she doesn’t get to socialise very often and has a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders.

Jamie is 14.
He is Ricky’s younger brother and is quite timid and shy. He’s really into maths and science and spends a lot of time studying. Jamie’s not as sporty as his older brother but really looks up to Ricky. He’s pleased to have an older brother who looks after him and is always seeking his advice about things.

Ponteland High School, Ponteland

Ponteland High School’s story focuses on Ricky, the driver responsible for the collision. The students explore the impact of the collision through his eyes using a range of multi-media. A journalistic approach was used to portray Ricky’s emotions following the tragic collision. The students used a media platform because of the huge part it plays in young people sharing information.

Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Newcastle

Sacred Heart’s project focuses on Ricky’s younger brother Jamie who is killed in the collision. The students identified the issues many parents sadly have to face when dealing with the loss of a child in such sudden circumstances.

Most of the filming took place within the school grounds where they reconstructed a secure collision scene. A single lost shoe is used as the symbol of the loss of Jamie and appears several times in the film as a reminder to the audience.

The group worked closely with Karon Hylton who agreed to be interviewed about the loss of her son in a collision in 2007. The students said it was an experience they would never forget.

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Longridge Towers School

Students at Longridge Towers involved in the school's projectStudents at Longridge Towers involved in the school's project
Both the GCSE and A-level students at Longridge Towers were involved in the school's project. The Year 10 pupils, who had just started GCSE Drama and was working on the project as a piece of devised theatre, took Chantel’s story as the starting point and empathised with how both Chantel's and Jamie's characters were drawn into the tragic event.

As current and prospective learner drivers, the older students saw the relevance of the scenario to their current lives. Both groups explored the ‘ripple effect’ phenomenon of the incident with the older pupils looking at the impact on the lorry driver who is still haunted by the night’s event years later.

Excelsior Academy, Newcastle

Excelsior’s short film tackles the reality of issues like peer pressure which young drivers face.

It portrays the ripple effect caused by the loss of a friend and the sharing of blame and responsibility which comes with it.

The film’s format shows different technological mediums such as YouTube and text messaging which young people can relate to.

Heaton Manor School, Newcastle

Heaton Manor produced an advert which allowed them to show the hard-hitting and preventable consequences of the situations highlighted by the project.

The students kept the video short and ‘punchy’ to emphasise the urgency of the situations and explore their hard-hitting nature.

By showing the personal, human side of the emergency services in the video the students hope to connect on a more distinct level with the audience.