Beachy Head: a spectacular backdrop synonymous with sadness

The spectacular backdrop of Beachy Head has sadly become synonymous as a notorious suicide spot.

According to the Beachy Head chaplaincy team, who have had to deal with 184 incidents in the past two months, the number of people choosing to end their lives at the cliffs has grown, particularly over the past 50 years.

Beachy Head lighthouse and tributes to tho e whe have died there. November 8th 2012 E45152N

Beachy Head lighthouse and tributes to tho e whe have died there. November 8th 2012 E45152N

The chaplaincy has been patrolling the cliffs since 2004 reaching out to those in distress.

Now film maker, Archie Rhind-Tutt has produced a documentary about the cliffs, including an interview with the Eastbourne Herald’s editor-in-chief, Keith ridley.

Archie, who has just finished a broadcast journalism degree with the University of Brighton in Hastings, produced the film as part of his degree.

“For me, part of Eastbourne’s charm can be found at Beachy Head,” he said.

“I’ve often spent time cycling and running over what is a spectacular location. However, it’s difficult not to consider the other, more sensitive side of the place when going up there.

“That’s where my interest for the video documentary stemmed from; subsequently using it as a vehicle for a module in my degree.

“Having researched the area and spoken to people about the suicidal aspect of the cliffs, I tried to contact both the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Trust and the Samaritans to give their views on how or indeed the media affected the suicide rate. The Samaritans stopped answering my calls on the matter and didn’t seem keen for an interview.

“The BHCT, on the other hand, said they were too busy to deal with the request at the time.

“They were also concerned at raising further incidents at the cliffs by partaking in such an interview but they did provide me with a statement.

“However, I was very happy with the interviews I secured as it still helped me give an insight into the relation between the media and the suicide rate - something which had not really been touched on much beforehand.

“It means there is a certain irony to the piece given the fact I am questioning the relationship between the media and the suicide rate - and yet, technically I could be perceived as being on one side.

“However, I hope that by being independent from an organisation helps reduce this.”